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NOV-5-1975- 



AN ANALYSIS .':: -, 

ACTIVITIES AND POTENTIAIffJES 

FOR ACHIEVEMENT OF THE ^ 

PARENT- TEACHER ASSOCIATION 

WITH RECOMMENDATIONS 



BY 
ELMER S. HOLBECK, Ph. D. 



TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 
CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION 
NO. 601 

PUBLISHED WITH THE APPROVAL OF 

Professor Willard S. Elsbree, Sponsor 



BUREAU OF PUBLICATIONS 



NEW YORK CITY 

1934 



COPYRIGHT, 1934. 
BY ELMER S. HOLBECK 



PRINTED AT THE Country Life Press, GARDEN CITY, N. Y., u. s. A 



PREFACE 



L 



L T is the purpose of this study to evaluate, in terms of accomplish 
ment and potentialities for accomplishment, the aims, activities, 
program, and work of the Parent-Teacher Association. 

The development and growth of the Parent-Teacher Association 
have been marked by opposition and struggle. Much criticism 
has been heaped upon it. Many educators and lay citizens alike 
have viewed the movement with suspicion. Others have sought 
to promote and stimulate its growth, but largely through faith in 
its potentialities rather than from admiration of its actual accom 
plishment. Its diffusion of interests, its failure to achieve a clear- 
cut relation with the educational system, its often poorly conceived 
and inefficient methods, have retarded and inhibited its influence 
and have given the casual observer only too much reason to believe 
that it had no importance. 

This is not the whole story, however. The primary purpose of 
the organization to coordinate the work of home and school for 
the welfare of the child capitalizes a community of interest on the 
part of parents and teachers which has an enormously high emo 
tional appeal. When to a purpose of such social significance is 
added the fact that the phenomenal number of over 1,500,000 
individuals are officially recorded as members of Parent-Teacher 
Associations in this country, it is apparent that the organization 
deserves much more than superficial examination and that it 
probably has a potential importance of considerable magnitude. 

It is, furthermore, one of the few examples in the United States 
of spontaneously initiated local community activity with volunteer 
leadership. It has weathered the vicissitudes of over seventy years < 
of growth and expansion. It has had an influence on educational f 
legislation, on public opinion regarding education and on the con- ; 
ception of the parent's rdle in education. Whether it will in the 
future rise to the full potency of its possible influence, depends to 
a great extent on the ^nethods and techniques which the Associ 
ations work out for themselves in the next few years. It is the 



29 



'fmrpc^c^li^ 

*ifig e3fetmg'|ifacll6es e frthis direction. 

Diffi^u&ds it is to make an evaluation of an organization with 
such an unusual disparity between potentialities and achievements, 
it is distinctly worth while to attempt it at the present time. In 
the past a concerted effort was made to keep the work of the Associ 
ations unimportant and unobtrusive, but this evasive attitude 
cannot be justified in a period when education has become a science 
no less than an art. This movement, in spite of its obvious weak 
nesses, has become an enterprise with which the modern educator 
must reckon. It is time for its potentialities to be generally ad 
mitted and for educators to join with parents in working on ways 
and means of assisting the organizations to reach them. The 
successful integration of the work of this organization with the 
work of the school, where it has been accomplished, has promoted 
so definitely the welfare of the child and the community that, 
despite the numerous difficulties such an effort presents, it should 
be attempted more generally. It is hoped that the facts and recom 
mendations here presented will serve in some measure to encourage 
the educators and parents who elect to embark on this adventurous 
experiment. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



JLHE author desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to Professor 
Willard S. Elsbree, for his constant assistance and inspiration dur 
ing the writing of the dissertation. He wishes also to express 
grateful appreciation to Dr. Jesse H. Newlon and Dr. James R. 
McGaughy for their constructive criticisms and stimulating sug 
gestions. 

To Mrs. Maria L. Rogers, formerly of the United Parents Associ 
ation, whose many suggestions and criticisms were invaluable, the 
writer is extremely grateful. 

The author is also indebted to Mrs. Arthur C. Watkins, field 
secretary of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers for her 
many suggestions and careful reading of parts of the manuscript 
and to Dr. Julian E. Butterworth of Cornell University for his 
many constructive criticisms and suggestions found in his writings 
on Parent-Teacher Association work. 

Without the cooperation of the National Congress of Parents 
and Teachers, United Parents Association, Virginia Cooperative 
Association and many other independent associations, the work 
would not have been possible. 

Appreciation is also expressed to the following ten cooperating 
presidents in the field: Mrs. Johanna Mosenthal, New York City; 
Mrs. Alonzo Knapp, Port Chester, N. Y.; Mrs. H. H. Lieblich, 
Newark, N. J.; Mrs. Harry F. Maxman, Mountain View, N. J.; 
Mrs. Joseph V. Schnupp, East Port Chester, Conn.; Mrs. Joseph 
F. Schnugg, Hackensack, N. J.; Mrs. Robert Swank, Jackson 
Heights, L. L; Mrs. Theodore Kuh, New York City; Mrs. H. E. 
Seim, Bridgeport, Conn. ; and Mrs. E. P. Bodine, Fairfield, Conn. 

To Mr. Jacob Theobald, Mrs. B. F. Lansworthy, First Vice 
President of National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Mrs. 
Adolph Kroll, President of Woodrow Wilson School. Parent- 
Teacher Association, Passaic, N. J., Miss Isabel Haggerty, Super 
visor, Passaic, N. J., Miss Thelma G. Paruta, Miss Florence B. 
Childs, Miss Alice D. Morgan, and Mr. Rudolph Graf, the author 



vi Acknowledgments 

expresses Ms deep appreciation for their very helpful assistance. 

To the hundred association presidents throughout the country 
and the many Parent-Teacher Association officials and educators, 
too numerous to mention, he feels especially obligated. 

To Ms wife, Lydia S. Holbeck, for her assistance and unfailing 
inspiration and encouragement during the painstaking work of 
writing the dissertation, the author will always be grateful. 

E. S. H. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTEB PAGE 

I. THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY 1 

II. GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE PARENT- 
TEACHER ASSOCIATION 3 

III. ORGANIZATION OF PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 
AND ITS RELATION TO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION. . . 20 

IV. PUBLICITY AND FINANCE IN PARENT-TEACHER 
ASSOCIATIONS 40 

V. FUNCTIONS, PURPOSES, AND ACTIVITIES OF THE 

PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 48 

VI. CASE STUDIES 57 

VII. THE UNIT OF WORK IN PROGRAM PLANNING FOR 

THE PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 77 

VIII. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS. . 95 
BIBLIOGRAPHY 101 

APPENDIX. TABLES AND CHARTS, OUTLINE, RATING SCALE, 

AND QUESTIONNAIRE, 103 



S, 



CHAPTER I 

THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY 




JINCE it is the purpose of this study to analyze the objectives^ 
purposes, and functions of the Parent-Teacher Association, the 
plan of work followed has been, first, to study the historical de- 
of the association since its inception, its organization, 
^relationship to the school and its publicity and finance ac~ 
is; second, to analyze the actual relation existing between the 
of function and purpose held by the leaders in Parent- 
Association work and in educational thought and theory 
ted States, and the activities engaging the attention of 
the local Associations. 

Attention will be directed to the type of work done by ten 
Parent-Teacher Associations selected for case studies, and a chap 
ter will be devoted to a proposed plan for unifying the program 
of an Association in a manner similar to the Unit of Work system 
now used so widely in the schools throughout the United States. 
There will also be included a list of specific recommendations de 
signed to increase the efficiency and social value of the Parent- 
Teacher Association. 

Since it appears that the major number of members of Parent- 
Teacher Associations in the United States have joined the National 
Congress of Parents and Teachers, which is the official national 
organization, close attention has been given to this body. But as 
some of the most interesting and original work in this field is carried 
on by local Associations which are not members of the National 
Congress, the available material relating to their activities has also 
been carefully studied. 

The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, through its 
county and state branches, numbers 1,511,20s 1 members of local 
Parent-Teacher Associations, organized in 20,000 units scattered 
throughout 47 states of the Union, Hawaii and Alaska. These 
units, composed of parents and teachers, are autonomous local 
Associations, organized in each school. Thousands of other units 

'LFigure quoted by National Congress of Parents and Teachers. Washington, D. C. 1931. 

1 



2 The Parent-Teacher Association 

are affiliated in State Associations, independent of the National 
Congress of Parents and Teachers, such as the State Improvement 
League of Maine, the South Carolina School Improvement Associ 
ation, the Virginia Cooperative Education Association; and de 
centralized independent units exist in every state in the Union. 

The National Congress of Parents and Teachers has been unable 
to estimate these independent units. 2 It has, however, made 
some attempt through its own units to assemble information about 
those independent Associations existing as separate or distinct 
units or as part of a larger group or council. The program of the 
independent groups and of the state federations mentioned above, 
is undoubtedly comparable in importance to that of the units 
which are members of the National Congress of Parents and Teach 
ers, which for brevity will hereafter be referred to as the National 
Congress. 

Data utilized for this study have been: Reports, programs and 
literature of ^e^jnde^oiJ^tjunits and the State Associations, 
together with publications, proceedings, and reports of the National 
Congress and its state branches. 

A questionnaire was sent to 275 Parent-Teacher Associations 
selected at random throughout the United States in order to obtain 
direct information about the status and working plan of typical 
groups. Of the 110 questionnaires returned, the information of 
100 which were intelligently prepared was selected and used in this 
study. A personal intensive investigation of the work done by ten 
selected Parent-Teacher Associations in three different states was 
conducted by the author. The case studies of these ten Associ 
ations will be found in the body of the work, coupled with an 
evaluation of their social value to the community. 

Other studies in the field, magazine articles, and check lists were 
also used in assembling facts and material. Many original data 
were assembled by the author during his personal observation and 
study of many Associations. 

*See Appendix, Table A. 



O, 



CHAPTER II 

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE 
PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 



consideration of the growth and development of the Parent- 
Teacher Association will cover four aspects of the movement one, 
the history of the early beginnings; two, its diffusion abroad; three, 
the formation of the National Congress; and, four, the recent 
developments which mark changes in its character and program. 
The Parent-Teacher Association movement, according to the 
most reliable accounts, seems to have had its beginnings in the 
United States as early as 1855. Following the development of the 
kindergarten, there arose a feeling that mothers and teachers could 
do more for the children by working together. This feeling was 
first expressed only in informal mothers' meetings, but it soon de 
veloped into more formal organizations such as Parents* Leagues, 
Mothers' Unions, Pre-School Circles, and Reading Councils, all 
of which were part of a movement which was wholly spontaneous 
and had no expressed philosophy. It simply filled a definite need 
felt by some parents and educators for a better understanding of 
the child in relation to school and society. 

These isolated units in some states gradually felt the need for 
exchange of opinions, for the strength that comes from concerted 
action of many groups working together, and the result was the 
formation of state associations in Maine, South Carolina, Pennsyl 
vania, Illinois, California, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, and 
elsewhere. 1 

The Maine Improvement League is typical of a number of state 
associations in states whose population is predominately rural. It 
is concerned with the problems of rural schools and through its 
operation school grounds are improved and decorated. The South 
Carolina School Improvement Association no longer exists as a 
state unit but there are numerous independent associations scat 
tered all over the state. The aim of this Association is the im 
itate School Improvement Association, Rural School Pamphlet No. 42, U. S. Bureau of 
Education, Washington, D. C., 1927. 

3 



4 The Parent-Teacher Association 

provement of material and equipment through the raising and 
supplying of funds. With the help of this Association most of the 
schools are well housed and well equipped. In addition, a pro 
gram for the consolidation of schools has been executed successfully 
by most of the state associations. 

Another very flourishing and effective state organization is the 
Cooperative Education Association of Virginia, composed of 1,738 
units and 82,762 members. 2 It was organized in 1904 to " advance 
social, spiritual, moral, physical, civic, and economic interests of 
the community." It claims to unite the official and unofficial 
leaders of the state in a great cooperative effort, by unifying all 
the educational forces with a view to utilizing their combined wis 
dom and strength in reinforcing the efforts of the state and local 
school authorities in the matter of perfecting the public school 
system of Virginia. A former executive secretary of the Associ 
ation emphasizes the importance of its work in the following state 
ment: 

Through the leagues the latent forces of our State are stimulated into action. 
The power which makes the school go is the sentiment which exists in the 
community. From a few struggling organizations in 1904 there are now 1,833 
leagues in the State of Virginia. During that time the amount of money 
spent in public education and school buildings has increased over 500 per 
cent. Training and salaries of teachers have also increased several hundred 
per cent. . . In every community there has been a loyal band of men and 
women with a vision of better things for their schools and communities, and 
it is this leaven that hath leavened our whole society. 8 

But thousands of local Parent-Teacher Associations never united 
with these state associations. This has been true in the larger 
cities. A similar condition exists in other urban areas. In some 
cities independent federations limited to the area have grown up. 
An example is the United Parents Associations of New York City, 
which numbers one hundred and fifty associations in its member 
ship (1930). 

The programs of these city federations may vary considerably in 
the different localities. Sometimes they are limited to monthly 
conferences and occasional work as a joint unit on special edu 
cational projects. The United Parents Associations above re 
ferred to have gone beyond this restricted program and furnish 

Includes 1,004 Junior leagues and 8,732 leagues for Adults. The Community League News, 
Richmond, Virginia, 1932. 

^Report. Twentieth Anniversary of the Cooperative League of Virginia, 1924, Page 101 



Growth and Development 5 

skilled assistance to local associations on all phases of local work, 
and have taken the leadership in assisting the member associations 
to carry on programs of parent education. 

A new development in recent years has been the formation of 
parents* groups for the exclusive purpose of parent education. 
These exist in many cities along the Eastern seaboard and in some 
cases, as in Philadelphia, they have formed local branches of the 
Child Study Association of America. 

Sometimes parents whose children attend private schools have 
formed a league devoted exclusively to the problems of such 
schools. Examples are the Parents League of New York and the 
Parents League of Brooklyn. There are others of the same type. 
It is extremely difficult to present briefly the many directions these 
groups have taken. The variation is almost bewildering. But 
enough has probably been said here to indicate both their variety 
and the characteristic all have in common that of a nice 
adaptation to the specific needs of the members composing the 
groups. 

When we come to the National Congress the picture is simplified 
immediately, as is always the case when an official organization is 
considered. In 1896, Mrs. Alice McLillan Birney conceived of a 
Congress of Mothers. This had as its objective the study of the 
care and training of children, and was the first official recognition 
on the part of parents that parenthood was a profession necessitat 
ing study and training. On February 17, 1897, Mrs. Birney's idea 
became a fact and the National Congress of Mothers was organized 
with Mrs. Birney as its first president. Its appeal was instantane 
ous, and state branches were organized everywhere and speedily 
affiliated with the national organization. Independent Parent- 
Teacher Associations already existing in Pennsylvania, Illinois, 
and California also joined forces with the national body. 

At first it was the purpose of the Congress merely to organize 
groups of mothers for the study of the child. A few of these groups 
were organized in churches. Others were associated with the 
kindergartens or the public schools. Some were neighborhood 
groups. According to Mason, 4 the Parent-Teacher movement 
developed into types of Associations, all differing somewhat in 
membership and methods of work. The different types within 
the National Congress of Parents and Teachers are briefly classified 

*Mason, M. S. Parents and Teachers. Ginn and Company, New York, 1928. Page 150. 



6 The Parent-Teacher Association 

under the following heads : Pre-school Associations ; Parent-Teacher 
Associations in elementary schools; Parent-Teacher Associations 
in high schools; Mothers' Clubs; Fathers' Clubs; Study Circles; 
Parent-Teacher Associations in churches; and Parent-Teacher 
Associations in colleges. 

But in time the Congress saw the necessity of associating in a 
helpful and intimate way the two social institutions exercising the 
most direct influence upon the cMld, the home and the school 
There was therefore apparent a need for continuing the work into 
the elementary school and for joining in a common effort the 
elementary teachers as well as the mothers. To this end the Con 
gress then entered upon a national movement for the organization 
of Parent-Teacher Associations. This phase of the work grew so 
rapidly that, in order that it might be directed more effectively, a 
special department in charge of it was created within the Congress. 
At this point we may note the preponderance of elementary 
school organizations over all others. 5 This is partially accounted 
for by the fact that the elementary school is the most widely dis 
tributed educational agency; by the fact, also, that for many years 
the Congress emphasized elementary school organization; and 
perhaps it may also be explained by the fact that the elementary 
school child is at an age at which the mothers are easily interested 
in him and in his welfare. 

In 1908 the name of the Congress was changed by vote to The 
National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations, 
and in 1915 the charter was amended to legalize this name. In 
1924 the name was changed again, this time to that which it bears 
to-day, The National Congress of Parents and Teachers. This 
change was felt to be necessary because membership in the Con 
gress is individual and because of the growth of interest on the 
part of fathers as well as mothers in the work of the Parent-Teacher 
Associations. 6 

Commenting on the inception of the Parent-Teacher Association 
movement, Butterworth 7 says: "Its original purposes included 
the education of parents for child development, the cooperation 
of home and school, the promotion of the kindergarten movement, 

sSee Appendix, Table B. 

6 Handbook for Parent-Teacher Associations. The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 
1931. Page 56. 

'Butterworth, J. E. The Parent-Teacher Association and Its Work, The Macmillan Com 
pany, 1929. Page 7. 



Growth and Development 7 

the securing of legislation for neglected and dependent children 
and the education of young people for parenthood." 

Speaking of the potentialities of the movement, Mrs. Birney, 
the founder, said in her first address to the Congress in 1897 : 8 

The age in which we live is a time for specialized work and organized effort. 
It has therefore seemed to us good that the highest and holiest of all missions, 
motherhood, the family interest upon which rests the entire superstructure 
of human life and the element which may be designated as the foundation of 
the entire social fabric, should now be the subject of our earnest, reverent, 
consideration. 

This need of "earnest, reverent, consideration," expressed by 
Mrs. Birney and generally felt throughout the United States, was 
not, however, confined to the United States. Other countries 
soon followed the example set. But their work has so far not pro 
gressed beyond a stage comparable to the initial stages of the 
movement here. 

Before turning to a consideration of the further development 
of the Parent-Teacher Association idea in America, let us consider 
briefly the movement as it is found in foreign countries. 

Canada, following the example of the United States, initiated 
Parent-Teacher Associations throughout the provinces. Parent 
Councils provided for by law are found in Germany, Danzig, and 
Austria. Poland, Paraguay, Holland, Belgium, Bulgaria, and 
Australia all have officially recognized Parent Councils. Cuba 
has 1,373 associations of Parents, Neighbors, and Teachers. 
Mexico had a large number of isolated Parent-Teacher Associations 
but in 1928 these were formed into a large National Council. The 
investigation by the International Bureau of Education, Geneva, 
1927-1928, shows in addition a widespread growth of private 
school associations. In England there is the Parents' National 
Educational Union, and in France the National Union of Parents 
and Teachers. 

Despite this fairly large array of examples, it may nevertheless 
be stated that the movement in foreign countries is still in its in 
fancy. The report of the International Bureau lists a number 
of reasons for the slow and unproductive growth of the movement 
in foreign lands. Among these are: 

^Twenty Years Work for Child Welfare, 4897~l9i7. The National Congress of Parents and 
Teachers. Page 4. 



$ The Parent-Teacher Association 

1. Friction and discord due to lack of education and interest in 
pedagogical questions on the part of parents. 

2. In England there are already too many societies and as a result 
schoolmasters are unwilling to accept advice or assistance from the 
parents. 

3. In Norway the Supervising Committee of Parents is antago 
nistic to teachers. 

4. In India a wide gulf separates the generations. 

5. In South Africa educational authorities are already subject 
to public control. 

6. In France politics, the breach between secondary and primary 
schools, and the ignorance of teachers as to the merits of school 
and home cooperation, all serve to militate against such a move 
ment. 

However, in the opinion of the writer, these reasons are super 
ficial. The really important factor which has militated against 
the successful adoption of the American Parent-Teacher Associa 
tion plan in foreign countries probably is the fact that the philoso 
phy of the educational system in the United States differs radically 
from that which is held in foreign countries. It is built about a 
democratic ideal of education which found its first expression in 
the conception of the " Little Red Schoolhouse." From this "Little 
Red Schoolhouse" has developed a system of education in which 
each state sets minimum standards, and development and con 
trol are left largely to the local community. In foreign countries, 
on the other hand, there is a nationally integrated educational 
system with authority vested not in the community but in a na 
tional body. This difference in educational theory as well as a 
difference in social ideals makes it next to impossible successfully 
to adapt the American Parent-Teacher Association system to 
foreign countries. Full cooperation there between school and 
home would require considerable modification of educational 
philosophy, and although there is in foreign countries a stirring 
interest in the complete education of the whole child, the Parent- 
Teacher Associations there find themselves beset with difficulties 
which trouble the associations in the United States only slightly. 

Typical of the rather superficial consideration given to the pro 
found racial and cultural differences which have affected and will 
affect the development of this movement in foreign countries is 
this comment, made by a past president of the National Congress of 



Growth and Development 9 

Parents and Teachers and President of the International Federa 
tion of Home and School, which was founded in Toronto in 1927: 

We realize fully that each nation must work out its own programme, and 
we in the United States have no desire to claim that our plan is perfect or the 
one which everyone shall follow. But we do know by experience that it 
works well with a great variety of nationalities. We have in our National 
Congress groups speaking Spanish, Japanese, Russian, etc. So you see we 
have worked out something which is not only Anglo-Saxon but which is adapt 
able to many points of view. 9 

It is obvious to any sociologically trained observer that the 
foreign-speaking groups which have joined the Parent-Teacher 
Association in the United States are making an adaptation to 
American conditions, whereas in their own countries they might 
have behaved quite differently. 

Following its inception here the movement was greeted with 
great enthusiasm. Something of this and something of the under 
lying philosophy, the early objectives, and proposals, are seen in the 
first effort to enlist support for its cause. This appeal was sent to 
all the leading women's clubs in the country. It follows: 

The first National Congress of Mothers will be held in Washington, D. C., 
February 17, 18, 19, 1897. Washington has been selected as the most fitting 
place for such an assemblage because the movement is one of national impor 
tance and because the city offers many advantages in other ways. 

The originator of the present project, believing in the necessity for or 
ganized and earnest effort on the part of the mothers of the land concerning 
questions most vital to the welfare of their children and the manifold interests 
of the home, presented the subject at some of the Mothers' meetings at Chau- 
tauqua in the summer of 1895. The earnest enthusiasm with which it was 
received made it evident that the thought needed only to be disseminated in 
order to be quickly accepted and acted upon by hosts of conscientious, think 
ing women throughout the world, and to result in a centralization of then- 
power toward the accomplishment of great and necessary reforms in the 
interests of humanity. 

It is universally admitted that feminine influence has been a mighty factor 
for good in all ages and, therefore, incalculable benefit may be expected from 
the assemblage of many women for the interchange of views and the study 
of home problems which can be solved by women alone. 

It is proposed to have the Congress consider subjects bearing upon the 
better and broader spiritual and physical as well as mental training of the 
young, such as the value of kindergarten work and the extension of its prin- 

Rcmlts of an Investigation Undertaken by the International Bureau, of Education, Gcnew, 
4927-28. Page 4. 



10 The Parent-Teacher Association 

ciples to more advanced studies, a love of humanity and of country, the 
physical and mental evils resulting from some of the present methods of our 
schools, and the advantages to follow from a closer relationship between the 
influence of the home and school. 10 

Following this appeal the National Congress grew steadily. 
In 1900 seven states were affiliated with the movement. By 1920 
every state with the single exception of Nevada had a comprehen 
sive state organization. The growth in membership also is note 
worthy. In 1912 there were 31,672 members. In 1921 member 
ship was 278,721, and by 1931 it had grown to 1,511,203, with 
Associations numbering over 20,000. u But, as noted above, it has 
not by any means included all of the Parent-Teacher Associations 
in its membership. 

The history of the Parent-Teacher Association cannot be written 
without a brief glance at the cultural setting in which it has de 
veloped. The scope of this study naturally permits no more than 
a mere enumeration of some of the factors which have reacted 
upon this movement. The year 1855, when the first mothers' 
clubs were formed, is close to the period from which we usually 
date the emergence of those profound changes in our national 
industrial life which have completely altered our material environ 
ment, namely, the onset of the Civil War. These material 
changes, however, were not the only ones. Population concen 
tration in big cities, revolutionary changes in the status of women, 
new concepts of government and social life, new forms of entertain 
ment and amusement, have marked this period. Educational 
theory and practice, also, have reflected these changes and have in 
turn influenced their character. 

The change in the status and interests of women and the new 
educational theories are all that concern us directly in this study. 
Women were largely set free from the drudgery of pioneer days. 
Their new leisure was immediately utilized in widening their 
horizons. Most of this early effort took place through the women's 
clubs. They began to get a picture of the complexity of modern 
civilization of which, when safely immured within the four walls 
of their homes, they had been blissfully ignorant. They began to 
feel responsible for remedying the ugly aspects of this civilization. 

^Through the Years. National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Washington, D. C., 1930. 
Page 13. 

"A table showing the growth of the Congress units may be obtained from the National Con 
gress of Parents and Teachers, 1201 16th Street N. W., Washington, D. C. 



Growth and Development II 

Their leaders demanded the suffrage, universal peace, abolition of 
child labor, prohibition of drinking, and so forth. Those women 
who were not drawn into a consideration of world affairs felt pro 
foundly uneasy about the changes which affected their homes and 
their children's welfare. New educational theories were in the air 
which they did not understand and toward which they often were 
antagonistic. The motion picture, amusement parks, dance halls, 
were forms of entertainment which removed their children from the 
narrow neighborhood circle and drew them away from the shelter 
of the home attitudes. It became more and more difficult not to 
take into account a host of factors which affected the children and 
of which the parents had no first-hand knowledge. The impact 
of these new community conditions reacted on the children and 
made life infinitely more complex for the growing child and the 
adolescent than had perhaps ever been true in the world before. 
He found himself at the mercy of conflicting attitudes of social 
behavior without any stabilizing center in which they could be rec 
onciled. All these conditions made, and still make, motherhood 
a difficult and a most exacting r6le. 

In 1855 it must have seemed a simple matter to bring mothers 
and teachers together to study what little was then known of child 
psychology. As the century wore on and the complexities of life 
and education became ever greater and women began to know 
more about the social conditions of the time, this simple purpose 
was lost sight of in the excitement of using the new influence women 
found in their hands to reform the world. It was just before the 
close of the century that the National Congress of Mothers was 
formed and it did not escape the reformist spirit which was so 
sharply exhibited all through our national life during the first dec 
ade of the twentieth century. Indeed, child study itself was 
converted into a crusade! In the March, 1898, issue of the 
Mothers Magazine, Volume 1, we find a statement which admirably 
illustrates the transformation which had taken place: 

Every man and woman who begins to comprehend the sacred obligations 
due to helpless little children and who longs for their harmonious develop 
ment, possesses the attributes which will lead Mm or her to forward this 
development. Cannot all of us at the close of this nineteenth century be 
filled with the spirit of the crusaders, with that zeal and fire which made each 
individual in those times a soldier in the cause of Christ? No man then 
waited for orders from superior officers, no organization could meet his need, 



12 The Parent-Teacher Association 

no soldier could fill his place. In such a cause there could be no substitute 
and thus it should be in this crusade against ignorance and indifference. 

From that confusion of purpose the Congress has never freed 
Itself. Although we find in the speeches and writings of the time 
an assumption that it was the function of the Parent-Teacher 
Association to educate the parent so that he might better be able 
to cope with existing conditions and meet more intelligently the 
problem of rearing a child in a changing civilization, nevertheless 
the most extensive diffusion of interests was tolerated which had 
nothing to do with this purpose and function. For example, the 
Congress in 1926 continued to state its objects as: 

1. To promote child welfare in home, school, church, and community; to 
raise the standards of home life; to secure more adequate laws for the protec 
tion of women and children. 

2. To bring into closer relation the home and the school that parents and 
teachers may cooperate in the training of the child; to develop between edu 
cators and the public such united effort as will secure for every child the 
highest advantages in physical, mental, moral, and spiritual education. 12 

r '' X " 

But when it came to action, it is too apparent that the Congress 
was not carrying out these purposes as energetically as it might 
have done. A concrete illustration is obtained by examining 
impartially its plan of departmental organization. This shows a 
great emphasis on expansion activities and a wide diversity of 
interests not related to the stated purposes. The six departments 13 
organized by the national federation were: 

1. Organization: Child Welfare Day, Congress Publications, Membership. 

2. Extension: Parent-Teacher Associations in Colleges, in High Schools, 
in Grade Schools, in Churches, Study Circles, Pre-School Circles. 

3. Public Welfare: Citizenship, Juvenile Protection, Legislation, Motion 
Pictures, Recreation, Safety. 

4. Education: Art, Humane Education, Illiteracy, Kindergarten, Exten 
sion, Music, School Education, Student Loan Fund, Scholarships. 

5. Home Service: Children's Reading, Home Economics, Home Education, 
Spiritual Training, Standards in Literature, Social Standards, Thrift. 

6. Health: Child Hygiene, Mental Hygiene, Physical Education, Social 
Hygiene. 

"National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Handbook, 1926. Page 1. 

* 8 The standing committees and their grouping in departments vary as need arises but this 
list illustrates the way in which the Congress is seeking to meet the permanent requirements of 
childhood. 



Growth, and Development 13 

The diffusion of interests and attachment to aims not directly 
related to its purpose is also illustrated by the set of resolutions 
adopted by the National Congress in 1926: 

1. Complete enforcement of prohibition. 

2. A program of education to protect children by law and public opinion 
(Child Labor). 

3. A program for World Peace. 

4. A Federal department of education with a secretary in the President's 
Cabinet. 

5. Extension of the Shepherd-Towner Act beyond June, 1927. 

6. Narcotic education as a means of combatting the menace of drug ad 
diction. 

7. A commission on illiteracy and strict endorsement of the compulsory 
education law. 

8. Reaffirming of position regarding salacious literature, continuing to 
arouse public protest against the sale of objectionable magazines. 

9. Favor establishment of National Teachers' Day for the recognition of 
teachers. 

10. Program of safety and thrift education and a diversified recreational 
program which shall contribute to the moral education of youth. 

This diffusion of interest and relative neglect of child study was 
not only tolerated by the leaders of the Congress and by leaders of 
independent bodies as well, but by the educators themselves. 
When the Congress moved in 1913 to bring educators to a realiza 
tion that the Parent-Teacher Association could be an aid to the 
school in the education of the child, it met with resistance. 14 Says 
Mrs. B. F. Langworthy: 

It was curious to see the reaction of the school people to this movement. 
They were in many instances afraid of the onslaught of interested parents, 
mostly mothers, and cast about to find activities that should keep them busy 
and out of the mischief of trying to run the schools. It was a new interest 
to parents and it went to the heads of many of them whose resentment against 
new methods and new studies had been seething for a long time, no one having 
taken the trouble to make them understand them. There were undoubtedly 
many cases of interference and trouble-making, a difficulty that we have been 
trying, by education, to live down. 15 

"A conference was held in 1913 by the National Congress at the mid-winter meeting of the 
Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association, marking an im 
portant step toward a better understanding between the schools and the Congress. These 
conferences, held almost every year since then, have done much good in making the Congress 
known to educational leaders and securing the backing of the school system for Parent- 
Teacher Associations. 

^Vice-President of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 1932. (In a letter 
directed to the writer). 



14 The Parent-Teacher Association 

As a result of this feeling on the part of the educators, the activi 
ties of the local Associations were directed into new and in many 
ways less important fields. They turned to a large extent to the 
task of raising money for the purchase of school equipment, to the 
arrangement of entertainments, and to other non-educational 
activities. There was little room left in their schedule for the 
study of parent and child problems. There were still some few 
good Associations in the more progressive schools and communities, 
but the original purpose of the movement which, however vaguely 
stated, was the education of parents in order that they might build 
up a better world for their children and consequently build better 
children, was held in abeyance. 

Meantime, however, the educational world has evolved a new 
philosophy of education as a twenty-four hour a day process, and 
while unwilling perhaps two decades ago to see in the Parent- 
Teacher Association a medium for realizing this concept, now gen 
erally accept it as such. Educators to-day are stating more clearly 
and more imaginatively than leaders of the movement ever did the 
potentialities the organization bears within it. Says Moehlmann: 

Any organization with so large a membership is bound to make its influence 
felt in both state and nation. An association with an emotional stimulus 
such as the Parent-Teacher Association contains, represents a potency that 
rises far beyond that of a group associated for business or ordinary purposes. 
In a large sense the Parent-Teacher Association is distinctly a public relation 
agency made necessary by the complications of our existing social organiza 
tions. 16 

Newlon has stated the case even more strongly: 

The Parent-Teacher Association represents an effort on the part of the 
home and the school to study together their joint educational responsibilities. 
Child study associations, clinics of one kind or another, experiments with 
parent education classes, have risen to cope with these problems. I shall 
assert again the belief that I have expressed on former occasions that the 
movement to bring school and home together in the study of their common 
problems represents one of the three or four most important movements in 
what is commonly regarded as one of the most creative periods in American 
education. 17 

"Moehlmann, A. B. "Defining Rights and Duties of Parent-Teachers Associations," 
Nation's Schools, June, 1931. Page 55. 

"Newlon, Jesse H. "The R61e of the Public School in Parent Education." An address 
delivered at the Biennial Conference of the National Council on Parent Education, Wash 
ington, D. C., 1930. Page 84. 



Growth and Development 15 

The growing appreciation of adult education has had its impact 
on the attitude with which the efforts of the Parent-Teacher 
Association are at present viewed. Hart expresses the new atti 
tude when he says: 

Any movement or institution that proposes to help men and women find 
some new increment of knowledge or understanding or skill or ability through 
their own hard efforts is socially valuable and should be supported whether it 
comes within the scope of "standard" institutions or not. Wherever men 
and women are struggling with the attempt to understand to-day whetjjerjn 
studyjgoups, in librarj reading and research rooms, in general conversation, 
or in" silence of i^vidu^mSitation, there a university is in operation anci 
the future is in pr6cess. ls 

While the Parent-Teacher Association movement was being 
diverted from its early purpose of child study, that purpose was 
adopted, developed and expanded in the study groups of the Child 
Study Association of America and many other unrelated groups. 
This also was a spontaneous organization, brought into being to 
satisfy the needs of mothers with a desire to study their children. 
The study groups developed outside the school, however, and 
therefore did not suffer the cramping experience of the Parent- 
Teacher Associations, and, since they were never tempted to ex 
pand for numbers only, they did not suffer much from the reform 
ist impulse. This movement for parent education grew steadily 
until in 1925 a National Council on Parent Education was formed, 
which drew all the hitherto independent groups together for coun 
sel and discussion. This body has in turn influenced the program, 
of the National Congress by emphasizing the great importance of 
parent education in Parent-Teacher Associations. Other factors 
may have been the work of independent organizations, such as the 
United Parents Associations of New York City which in 1925 
adopted a program which made child study the primary purpose 
of the organization. There are a few other examples of the kind. 
Whether because of these particular stimuli or others it is impossible 
to say, but in 1929 the National Congress with the help of founda 
tion funds established a department of parent education with a 
secretary in charge for an experimental period of three years, to 
encourage its groups to study child psychology and child needs 
under competent leadership. The final stage of its work the one 

"Hart, J. K. Adult Education. Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1927. Page 297. 



16 The Parent-Teacher Association 

in which we now find ourselves therefore represents a distinct 
step forward as well as a return to the earlier ideals of the Congress. 
Dr. McAndrew in editorial comment quotes Mrs. Mason regard 
ing the revised conception of the function of the Congress: 

It jj pur, particular function not only to call attention to the value of all 
organized efforts to protect and educate the child, but also to provide a channel 
through which specialized information may reach fathers, mothers* and other 
citizens who deal with children. 19 

It is evident from this statement that the Congress has by no 
means abandoned its earlier position as an organization for getting 
things done even when it recognizes its responsibility as an agency 
for parent education. Whether or not it would be desirable for 
it to do so is not at all certain. The two purposes, with skillful 
management, can be made to run together, and no one could deny 
the value of the pressure which interested educated parents could 
bring to bear upon the educational system. The new type of 
educator does not dread this pressure as his predecessor did, as 
instanced by McAndrew, who says: 

Obtrusiveness is not as bad as indifference on the part of the community. 
. . . The Parent-Teacher Association organizes and leads toward the support 
of the schools those citizens who, however traditional their ideas of the pur 
pose of the schools may be, have the strongest natural interest in them 
that of parental devotion to children. 20 

All these various points of view, even on slight examination, 
show conflicting tendencies. The Parent-Teacher Association still 
has a host of problems to work out. It must consider ways and 
means of integrating its function as an agency for parent education 
with that of acting in appropriate ways to support and further the 
work of the schools. Perhaps this can never be done satisfactorily 
to all concerned but there certainly exists a need for both functions. 
The schools need the support of interested citizens in many crises; 
they cannot do their work without money and the taxpayers must 
vote the money. They cannot gain general acceptance for innova 
tions and new methods without the support and understanding of 
the parents and other citizens. Moreover, the child needs an 
understanding, trained parent as never before in history, and the 

19 McA,ndrew, William, Editorial Comment. School and Society, Vol. 29, June 1, 1929. 
Page 715. 
so/fciU Page 714. 



Growth and Development 17 

school cannot expect maximum results from its work unless it is 
supported at home by intelligent parents. The school and the 
home are irrevocably bound together in this civilization. 

Realizing this, the school has before it the problem of working 
out such a relationship to the Parent-Teacher Association that the 
two institutions can function smoothly and without friction. 
More specific reference is made in Chapter II regarding the possible 
cooperation between the schools and the Parent-Teacher Associa 
tion. The problem is complex and many experiments will have to 
be made before any final satisfactory solution is found, if ever. 
But every interested educator and every intelligent leader of the 
Parent-Teacher Association can help toward this solution. 

E. C. Lindeman 21 has given some thought to this problem and 
feels that the manner in which the school should share in the 
parent education process is one for considerable debate. He says: 

In some sections of the country, the situation seems entirely ripe for the 
incorporation of parent education within the established public education 
system, in others it seems equally clear that the most effective form of or 
ganization is one which preserves the voluntary elements in the movement, 
in still others it seems possible and advisable to combine these two types 
of organization. 

The possibility of setting up in an educational system a depart 
ment of Parent Education to work jointly with all other phases of 
Child Education should receive consideration from the various 
communities in the country. It is not, however, without danger. 
The determining factor in initiating such a scheme will of course be 
financial support and this probably should be public and not pri 
vate. The acceptance of such a plan should result only when the 
following items have received careful consideration: 

1. The danger of creating such a plan for a community not ready for it. 

2. Adjustment to type of community. 

3. Clarification and coordination of all functions concerned with Parent 
Education. 

4. Type of leadership available. 

Another suggestion foreshadowing possible future developments 
comes from Dr. Newlon: 

"Undeman, E. C. "Sociological Aspects of Parent Education," Journal of Educational 
Sociology. Vol. 5, April 1932. Pape 505. 



18 The Parent-Teacher Association 

I am firmly convinced that the time has come when a highly trained pro 
fessional leadership must be made available in this field (i.e., in the field of 
cooperation between the school and the Parent-Teacher Association). Every 
school system of any size should have on its staff persons charged with the 
responsibility of studying the family in its relation to the education of children, 
specialists who can skillfully and informally foster the work of parent educa 
tion and similar groups. 

Such a department should be a service department and not an administra 
tive or supervisory department. Skillful leadership will informally assist 
parents and teachers in the study of their problems, rather than dictate or 
administer. It is impossible to foresee with any clarity what forms of co 
operation will be set up. There is already available a considerable body of 
knowledge which should be placed at the disposal of parents and teachers, 
and needs to be greatly extended by research. The school should draw from 
the social sciences, from sociology, anthropology, economics as well as medicine 
and psychology, much tested knowledge pertinent to the education of parents 
and to the functioning of school and home. 22 

With these suggestions, which mark the latest development of 
educational thought concerning the Parent-Teacher Association, 
we can conclude this brief history of an organization which has re 
flected so many of the larger currents of American social life and 
seems likely in the future to become an intimate part of our entire 
educational structure. 

SUMMARY 

In considering the history of the Parent-Teacher Association, 
we find that it presents a number of features of great interest. In 
the first place, it arose as a spontaneous answer to a genuine need 
felt by parents and educators to obtain a better knowledge of the 
child in relation to school and society. There has never at any 
time been anything forced or artificial about its expansion, yet in 
the course of seventy years it has had a steady, and of recent years a 
phenomenal, growth in size. 

Any organization with such a long history is bound to have 
changed its conceptions and ideals. Yet on the whole the Parent- 
Teacher Association has remained remarkably consistent. Al 
though from the turn of the century the Associations began to lose 
sight of their primary purpose, which to-day we call parent 
education, because of the pressure of the social ideals of the time 
which stimulated women to throw their strength against any and 

M Newlon, Jesse IL Op. ciL 



Growth and Development 19 

all abuses of which they became aware, nevertheless, in spite of an 
immense and regrettable diffusion of energies oyer the whole 
social field, the primary purpose lay latent; it was not completely 
lost. 

The movement has been powerfully affected not only by the 
social currents of the period, but by the attitudes of school ad 
ministrators. For a long time the practical educators, who feared 
a flood of ill-advised and useless criticism and who were jealous of 
their prerogatives, made an attempt to keep the work of the As 
sociations out of the schools. The efforts of the local units were 
directed into money-raising activities and other fields which had 
no connection with the original need which had brought the or 
ganization into being. It is this situation which to-day keeps the 
work of the Parent-Teacher Associations in foreign countries for 
the most part valueless and which still weakens to a great extent 
the effort being made in the United States. 

In our day, however, because of the emergence of many new 
factors, among them a changed concept of education, educators 
and parents alike are looking upon this organization with fresh 
vision. The leaders in modern education have many of them ac 
cepted their responsibility for developing the potentialities of the 
Parent-Teacher Association, and thus it appears that with their 
assistance the Association can move forward to a higher level of 
achievement. 



CHAPTER III 

ORGANIZATION OF PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 

AND ITS RELATION TO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION 

PLAN OF ORGANIZATION 

IHE Parent-Teacher Association is always an autonomous, self- 
governing, self-supporting organization made up of the parents of 
the children attending a particular school, 1 except when the parents 
of a group of schools band together for the same purpose. This 
practically never happens in the Associations connected with 
public schools. Examples are occasionally found of such a type of 
organization for private schools. 2 The officers are usually a presi 
dent, one or more vice-presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer. 
Any parent of a child in the school is eligible for membership. In 
some schools membership includes both parents. Some schools 
accept parents only for full membership; in the majority of schools, 
however, teachers and other faculty members are solicited to join. 
In the latter case one or more teachers are usually given offices in 
the organization, the remainder of the officers being drawn from 
the parents. Officers are always elected by the membership and 
the usual stipulation is that no person may serve for more than two 
consecutive terms. Exception to this rule is sometimes made for 
the treasurer and the treasurer is often a teacher. 

Committees are usually appointed or elected for specific projects. 
In Associations which do not admit teachers to full membership, 
those whose advice is needed for such projects are usually made 
ex-officio members of the committees. 3 

Those local units which join a centralized body do so in one of 
two ways either by affiliating as a unit with the central orgamza- 

lExceptions are such groups organized in connection with churches, settlement houses and 
other philanthropic enterprises, but as these have practically no bearing on the present study, 
they are ignored in this chapter. They present no interesting modifications of the form of 
organization. 

*Cf. Chapter I. 

aThe United Parents Associations of New York City recommends this plan to its members. 
In such Associations, the principal sits as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee, 
which plans all the work, 

20 



Organization 21 

tion, or by joining it as individuals in a group. This latter plan is 
the one adopted for admission to the National Congress. Such 
individual membership also makes the members of these units 
automatically members of the state branches of the National Con 
gress where these exist. 

All state organizations of the National Congress are bound to 
uniformity by its by-laws. There is, however, some variation in 
the details in which the finer points of organization are carried out. 
Article 12 of the By-Laws of the National Congress indicates to 
some degree the extent to which the National Congress brings 
about uniformity in its branches. Thus, 

SECTION 3: Each state or branch shall elect a president, one or more vice 
presidents, one or more secretaries, a treasurer, and such other officers as it 
may find necessary. Each state branch shall be authorized to adopt rules 
for the transaction of its business provided they do not conflict with the 
by-laws of the National Congress. The state by-laws shall be approved by a 
committee of the National Board of Managers. 

The State Board of Managers shall consist of the officers of the state branch, 
the district presidents (or, where there are no districts, county presidents), 
the chairmen of standing committees, the chairmen of committees-at-large 
and such others as may be approved by a committee of the National Board 
appointed for that purpose. No person shall serve on the state board of 
managers in more than one capacity; this shall not apply to district or county 
presidents whose term will expire within six months after the state election. 

SECTION 10: Each state branch shall, in so far as possible, provide for state 
standing committees to correspond with the national standing committees. 
It shall be the duty of the state committee to endeavor to carry out the plans 
submitted by the like committee of the National Congress. 

However, provision has been made in the Congress for elasticity 
in the organization of districts within the state or councils within 
the city or community. Eleven states have no district organiza 
tion. Chart A 4 shows the state organization of New Jersey where 
local association members through conventions are directly 
responsible to the state. Chart B 5 shows the relation of national 
committees to state, district, council, and local committees. 
State branches may be organized with a membership aggregating 
500 when the state has ten local units whose dues have been paid 
to the National Congress. 

The Convention, which is the governing body of the national 
organization, formulating all its policies, is held annually at a 

4 See Appendix, Chart A. 5 See Appendix, Chart B. 



22 The Parent-Teacher Association 

place fixed by the National Board of Managers. Delegates se 
lected are: State President and three state officers, or the alternates, 
and one additional delegate for every thousand members in good 
standing. The State Board of Managers authorizes this selection. 

Chart C 6 shows the unit of organization in the national body. 
In the National Congress office there are forty workers, including 
twenty-seven paid workers, of whom seven are division secre 
taries, one a general secretary and the six others in charge of 
Education, Research, Publicity, Summer Round-Up, Publications, 
and Field Work, as outlined on Chart E. 7 In addition to these 
divisions, the official publication of the National Congress of Parents 
and Teachers, Child Welfare Magazine, has its office on the same 
floor. Its staff includes thirteen persons, eleven staff workers 
under the direction of a business and a circulation manager. The 
Parent Education work of the National Congress of Parents and 
Teachers is also conducted from this office. The staff is the chair 
man of the Committee on Parent Education and a secretary. 

The National Congress of Parents and Teachers has adopted 
specific recommendations 8 governing organization and program 
by which local Associations may become "standard" or "superior" 
Associations. These unfortunately encourage local units to pur 
sue many different types of activity and promote a uniformity of 
activity among the local units which does not permit an adequate 
consideration of local problems. In Chapter V we shall discuss 
the purposes and functions of the Parent-Teacher Association, and 
in the light of these we can see the importance of encouraging a 
flexibility which will enable each local unit to evolve a program of 
work based on its own major problems. 

Chart E indicates the great number of activities engaging the 
interest of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. From 
a consideration of this chart one is led to believe that if fewer 
activities of major importance are considered desirable for local 
units, then the national organization should consolidate its in 
terests to include only activities which may be used by a local unit 
in the study of problems peculiar to that community. 

Chart D 9 indicates the general relationship of the Parent-Teacher 

"See Appendix, Chart C. 
7 See Appendix, Chart E. 

^Report for Standard and Superior Associations, 1931-32, National Congress of Parents 
and Teachers. 

9 See Appendix, Chart D. 



Organization 23 

Association to our educational system. The writer feels that 
the position of the Parent-Teacher Association is too obscure. 
For stability and prestige, its rights should be defined by the 
boards of education. 10 Its relationship to the school should be 
"extra-legal," but the Parent-Teacher Association must occupy a 
place in our educational system which will encourage it to assist 
in the effective solution of educational problems. The writer feels 
that the Parent-Teacher Association, properly placed and en 
couraged by the educational system, will not be likely to attempt 
to dictate policies and interfere with the work of the school. The 
instances of such interference can usually be traced to a confusion 
on the part of the members of the Parent-Teacher Association in 
regard to its function and often to ignorance of the purpose of the 
educational policies they attempt to combat. Where the school 
authorities have adopted a policy of keeping the parents informed 
of the general purpose and philosophy behind educational methods, 
this particular kind of friction has been practically eliminated. 
There are always unreasonable parents, because unreasonableness 
is common to human nature in general, but this trait causes 
as much trouble in schools where no Parent-Teacher Association 
exists as in schools where parents are organized. The writer, for 
example, found in a study of 125 Associations little of what might 
be called interference. Butterworth found in a study of the records 
of 887 business sessions only three or four cases of what might be 
counted as interference. 11 

MEMBERSHIP 

Any parent may become a member of the Parent-Teacher 
Association in his child's school. He may continue to be a member 
long after his child has left school. Some organizations even 
extend membership to any interested citizen in the community 
whether he has children in the school or not; but this plan has 
dangers as it admits self-seeking politicians whose interests differ 
from those of the parents. The size of the membership in any 
Association seems to depend upon the vitality and energy put into 
the program of work. Some organizations include one hundred 
per cent of the parents in the organization, but this is rare, mem- 

iThe United Parents Associations of New York City has made an attempt to accomplish 
this. See "A Contribution to the Theory and Practice of Parents Associations," N. L. Rogers, 
1931. Page 60. 

"Butterworth, J. E. Op. cit. 



24 The Parent-Teacher Association 

bership sometimes falling as low as between three and ten per cent 
of the parents of a school. In one hundred Parent-Teacher As 
sociations selected at random the range of membership was 7 to 
1,200. The National Congress reports that more than fifty per 
cent of its local units have a membership ranging from 24 to 90 
persons. It also reports an average membership of 45. 12 Butter- 
worth 13 found that in cities with less than 2,500 population the 
median for nine states was 47, and that the median size increased 
proportionately with the size of the school. It is significant that 
all studies of the organization that have been made so far show less 
interest on the part of men than of women. Also school faculties 
have been somewhat slow to increase their membership in the 
Association. But at present more and more schools are showing 
one hundred per cent membership. There is no limit to the size 
of the membership, except the registration of any particular 
school. Large Associations by the use of committees function as 
effectively as smaller units. 

The National Congress opens its membership to individuals not 
members of local units and permits any person interested in the 
aims and objects of the Congress to become an active or life 
member upon payment of dues. 

The state and national organizations usually influence the forma 
tion of committees in the local units. Local units may appoint 
any committees necessary to carry on their work but the sugges 
tions of the state are usually so all-inclusive that they are adopted. 
Chart F 14 represents graphically the duties of the members and 
the committees on which they serve. Independent units which 
have no connection with the National Congress are often charged 
with duties and responsibilities similar to this set-up. 

Turnover in membership is extremely high. The mortality 
is partially offset by the addition of new members. In 1932, 
according to the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 
there were 1,151,918 members in the grade school associations, 
while in the junior and senior high school associations there were 
134,769. As a result of this study, the writer concludes that much 
of the turnover in membership may be charged to lack of interest, 
due to: 

^Special Report of National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 1931 (305-932-GS.) 
"Butterworth, J. E. Op. cit. 
"See Appendix, Chart F. 



Organization 25 

1. Inadequate program of activity. 

2. Objectives of Parent-Teacher Association not understood; 
parents are not sure of the efficacy of the work of the Association. 

3. Pupil membership in school not constant. 

4. No personal responsibility for membership. 

5. No extensive study group plan to provide for individual needs 
of parents. 

Minor reasons given by Association officers are: 

1. Lack of time. 

2. Political interference. 

3. Friction. 

4. Change of residence. 

5. Meetings held at inconvenient times. 

6. Lack of social intercourse. 

MEETINGS 

The number of meetings varies with the organization. Golden 15 
found that the median in one hundred Associations was 8.61. In 
the present study the median in one hundred Associations was 
found to be 8.25. The range was four to twelve for regular meet 
ings during the school year. In addition to regular meetings, how 
ever, many special meetings are held to provide for study groups 
and the solution of particular problems. The range of special 
meetings is four to twenty-four yearly. Many of these are not 
attended by the entire membership but are meetings of smaller 
groups to discuss problems relative to their needs. From observa 
tion and study the writer noted that the strongest Associations 
have a systematic program carried out at all regular meetings, 
supplemented by group meetings at regular intervals. Such 
Associations usually plan activities which are cumulative, or 
ganized under a large unit of work, and such a plan requires group 
meetings in order to reach definite objectives that have been 
adopted. Any organization which confines itself merely to large 
regular meetings accomplishes little. 

METHODS OF ORGANIZING LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS 

Since the formation of the local Parent-Teacher Association is 
usually due to spontaneous local initiative taken by relatively 

isGolden, Emma. The Present Status of the Parent-Teachers Associations in North Dakota. 
niversity of Minnesota, 1930. Page 57. 



26 The Parent-Teacher Association 

untrained persons, it is most unusual to find complete records deal 
ing with the precise steps which have brought the present organiza 
tions into existence. These first steps are, however, likely to be 
all-important for the future of the organization. If petty political 
forces seize the leadership at the start, the organization is thereafter 
likely to be used as a tool to build up prestige by some aspirant 
who wishes to rise from the political ranks. If unreasonable and 
narrow-minded persons with zeal and aggressiveness (and the 
combination is not unusual) become the first officers and committee 
chairmen, the organization within a short time often finds itself 
in trouble with the principal. In neither case is a constructive 
policy and program of value to the majority of parents likely to 
be undertaken, for this involves disciplined intellectual effort and 
an imaginative approach at variance with the interests of this type 
of leader. 

Since the National Congress is, in the minds of the general public, 
the official source of authoritative information regarding all phases 
of parent-teacher work, it would naturally be assumed that it 
would be prepared to give detailed advice on the formation of 
Associations, advice which would warn against the above pitfalls 
and many other avoidable mistakes. Unfortunately, such is not 
the case. It limits itself to the issuance of a small leaflet on or 
ganization, which is of a highly general character, and a set of by 
laws for new Associations. Since the future value and prestige of 
the local Association depend upon the right kind of start, this lack * 
of official information regarding methods of organizing is serious. 
This question deserves more consideration from the Congress than 
has been given to it in the past. 

The United Parents Associations of New York City, recognizing 
this need, has suggested methods to its local units which indicate 
the kind of help the National Congress could give. Tins federation 
suggests 16 that in organizing a local Association it has been found 
highly advisable that a definite need of the organization be dis 
covered in the community and that that need be discovered by the 
parents, the prospective members. Probably the most successful 
method of initiating the project has been to hold several meetings 
of interested parents and, working through committees, to discuss 
local problems and needs. Thus the aims and objectives of the 
organization are clearly defined and understood in the beginning. 

ow and Why of a Parents Association. United Parents Associations, 1930. Page 17. 



Organization 27 

When the group is brought to a realization that their problems can 
best be solved by an Association under efficient, unselfish leader 
ship, then it may safely bring about plans for definite organization. 
The seriousness of the work and the type of activity that a Parent- 
Teacher Association is expected to put into operation are more 
clearly understood if the Association takes form under the in 
fluence of capable and thoughtful leadership. Until such leader 
ship can be found, it is best to delay organization. Here the 
school principal can play an important part which calls for tact 
and skill. He can always bring about the formation of an or 
ganization but his efforts should be indirect, the result of influence 
and suggestion which gradually build up in the parents a belief 
that such an organization would help to solve the problems peculiar 
to both school and home. The initial steps had best be taken 
by the parents. Many school principals, actuated by the best 
motives and eager to help the parents of the school, have found 
that an organization too quickly developed and formalized soon 
falls apart. A rather long period of incubation 17 and patient 
education is required before sufficiently large numbers of parents 
can be made to realize the potentialities of an Association of the 
best type and before the proper unselfish leadership can be found. 
In the one hundred Associations studied by the author it was 
found that only forty per cent of them had been initiated by 
parents. Also, instead of the careful procedure described above 
it was found that Associations are often organized on the spur of 
the moment to meet some special emergency which the Association 
is suddenly conceived as all-powerful to cope with. Instead of 
being the result of thoughtful, reasoned promotion, they spring 
into being during the violence of protest against a real or fancied 
grievance on the part of a small group of parents in a school. Nor 
is such ill-considered action always due to the shortsightedness of 
parents. Too many school principals are very likely to ignore 
the possibilities of a Parent-Teacher Association until they find 
their requests for a pet project meeting with resistance from the 
educational authorities. Then they resort to forming an or 
ganization of parents for the purpose of strengthening demands 
for additions to school equipment or the like. Once thi* object is 
achieved they lose interest in the Association until another op 
portunity arises for utilizing its force in the same way. Or if the 

ncf. Chapter V. 



28 The Parent-Teacher Association 

plea before the educational authorities is not successful, the prin 
cipal may organize the Association for the purpose of raising the 
funds necessary to carry out the project. It is not that any 
aspect of this exploitation of the idea of an Association is necessarily 
vicious in any one case, but such emergency organizations, thrown 
together for quick action, inevitably raise up leaders and formulate 
policies which will militate against a constructive, permanent en 
terprise. It is a rare exception to find an organization which 
has come into existence only after careful explorations to discover 
the best type of leadership and considerable preliminary discussion 
to ensure the establishment of policies upon which alone a firm 
foundation for future achievement can be laid. 

SCHOOL PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION RELATIONSHIPS 

In the past the educational profession has generally assumed 
that, because the citizen was taxed to support the public education 
system, he exerted some kind of control over it. The assumption 
was valid enough in the days of the *' lit tie red schoolhouse" which 
was under the watchful surveillance of a small face-to-face com 
munity which completely comprehended the educational theory 
upon which the school operated. But to-day this assumption must 
be scrapped in practically every section of the United States, for 
the small community and the ready comprehension of educational 
policy are both rare in our industrialized form of society. Some 
provision must be made, however, for lay participation, if not con 
trol, in educational policy-making and in the educational process. 
One may remark, parenthetically, that it is an interesting fact that 
the citizens of a country founded on the principle that taxation 
without representation is tyranny have submitted for a long time 
to a situation in which their representation in regard to school 
matters has been entirely indirect. So far there has been no revolt 
on the part of the rank and file of citizens against the fact that edu 
cation has been bureaucratically administered. Such revolts as 
have occurred have confined themselves to protests against modern 
educational theories and ideas which have created a serious 
situation, one which every conscientious modern educator who has 
faith in the new theories must wish to remedy. It constitutes the 
underlying reason why these educators are seeking to establish 
workable home-school relationships. One need only examine the 
many experimental methods evolved for substituting cooperation 



Organization 29 

for ignorance and antagonism between these two institutions to be 
assured that a ferment is working to achieve a solution of the 
problem. 

It is the contention in this thesis that the Parent-Teacher As 
sociation probably offers the most fruitful approach through 
which this cooperation can be brought about. The arguments are 
set forth in other parts of the study and need not be repeated here. 
But the real question which confronts educators is: Precisely what 
methods of administration can be adopted to deal with the Parent- 
Teacher Association in such a way that on the one hand the parents 
are admitted to legitimate participation in the educational process 
and on the other hand the school authorities are enabled to pre 
serve their professional function and expert status? It is a prob 
lem not limited to the schools alone but broadly confronting our 
whole social order. Since it is fundamental in our society and 
since so little progress has been made with it (for appreciation 
even that the problem exists is limited to perhaps the last twenty 
years), it is possible in a study such as this only to make a few 
tentative suggestions as to how the problem might be solved and 
to hope that in the future an adequate solution will be made by 
many educators working together and reporting results. 

On the basis of the material collected for this study, the author 
suggests the following to further the important work of the 
Parent-Teacher Association. 

1. There should be general admission that a problem really 
exists. We who believe in modern educational theory should no 
longer be content with statements that cooperation cannot be 
achieved because neighborhood populations are shifting, because 
parents show no real interest, because foreign-language difficulties 
prevent exchange of views, because there are so many other 
activities taking up the time of parents, etc. These are all condi 
tions to be met, not reasons for doing nothing about a real problem, 
and educators should stoutly maintain this point of view. 

2. The conception that education is a social process must be 
developed and its implications acknowledged. One of these is 
that the schools must take the responsibility for training teachers 
who will view the school as an integral part of the larger social 
process which will result in a closer cooperation between the 
school and such a social agency as the Parent-Teacher Association. 
Such cooperation must be brought about if we would have the 



30 The Parent-Teacher Association 

home and the school accept their joint educational responsibilities. 
This involves re-orientation of the curriculum of most training 
schools in state colleges and universities. Community organiza 
tion, sociology, social psychology, and anthropology must be 
emphasized in the courses of study during the preparatory period. 
(The pursuit of such studies, incidentally, would do much to infuse 
new vitality into the profession of teaching, which has for too many 
years recruited its ranks from persons who have had a narrow view 
of the responsibilities and possibilities of teaching, which on the 
whole most training institutions have done practically nothing to 
counteract.) 

3. Educators must accept responsibility for keeping parents 
informed of what is going on in the school. This job cannot be 
done in the perfunctory and superficial way in which it has been 
carried on in the past if real cooperation is to be achieved between 
home and school. The responsibility of giving parents an ac 
curate knowledge of administration and procedure presents a 
challenge to professional skill. The problem must be met in precisely 
the same spirit as that in which we are now working on methods of 
presenting subject matter in the school itself. In the end, it 
might involve actually adding another item to the list of attain 
ments which are loosely grouped under professional prestige or 
proficiency. The ability to build up a sound understanding of the 
principles and methods followed in a particular school might con 
ceivably have something to do with whether a teacher or principal 
was regarded as efficient by his colleagues and the profession at 
large. On the other side of the picture we might even see parents 
so informed regarding the wisdom of certain educational procedures 
that they will act as a corrective agency against exploitation of the 
schools by selfish interests. Since the educated person is the best 
parent, the school stands to gam from a program which keeps 
parents informed of school procedure. 

4. In addition to taking responsibility for keeping parents in 
formed as outlined above, the school must concern itself with 
parent education as such and must release money and leadership for 
that purpose. If the school does not take such responsibility this 
important body of new knowledge will not be disseminated on a 
scale vast enough to affect the behavior and attitudes of parents. 
No other institution in American life is equipped to make such 
'information available to the rank and file of citizen-parents. 



Organization 31 

That this knowledge cannot be disseminated by a decree and that 
its inclusion in the responsibilities of the school involves the de 
velopment of a new technique for adult education has been implied 
at a number of points in this thesis. The best present method 
seems to be the formation of small study groups under capable 
lay leadership, assisted by a corps of professional workers equipped 
with the requisite information. The interrelations between these 
lay and professional leaders must be clearly defined and it would 
seem from examining the experimental data available that the 
lay leadership will have to be given a scope and freedom of action 
which few adult organization leaders have thus far been accorded 
in the schools in those community efforts with which the schools 
have been associated such as community centers, recreation 
centers, adult night schools, and the like. 

In regard to this form of joint parent-and-sehool responsibility, 
it would also seem valid to suggest that the enterprise be at least 
partly, if not wholly, self-supporting, that is, that the parents 
contribute the major part of the sums needed. This could be 
arranged either by adoption of the "pay-as-you-go" policy so well 
developed theoretically 18 a few years ago by the groups interested 
in the wider use of the school; or by building on the practice 
now common in the Parent-Teacher Association of subsidizing 
certain school activities, for example, buying equipment, giving 
charity, setting up scholarships, etc. The practice would be the 
same, but the money would in this instance be utilized for the 
education of parents instead of for the support of activities which 
should properly be taken care of by the tax-budget if our theory 
of free education for the child means anything. This is not the 
place to argue the fine points of community organization theory, 
but the wider implication of the financial problems involved is 
stated here merely to indicate the really profound ramifications 
involved in the apparently simple suggestion that the schools 
should take the responsibility for parent education. 

5. Still another step must be taken by the school. It must 
evolve some administrative set-up for dealing with the Parent- 
Teacher Association which will enable the latter to contribute to 
ward the formation of sound educational policies and to cooperate 
effectively and creatively on school projects and activities so that 

18 See "Proceedings of the National Community Center Associations," in the Annual Reports 
of the N.E.A. from 1918 to 1930. 



32 The Parent-Teacher Association 

both, the parents and the school will benefit. This involves, on 
the part of the school, formal recognition of the Association, of its 
function, and of its potentialities. What contribution it will make 
and what forms its cooperation will take depend to a great extent 
on the personalities of the members of the school faculty and of the 
lay leaders of the Association and they will undoubtedly vary in 
each school. But the suggestion here made is that a method be 
worked out which will give formal recognition to the Association 
in each school. Based on the experimental data available, the 
author makes the suggestion that this formal relationship can best 
be expressed by the formation of an executive committee within 
the Association on which the principal or designated teachers may 
sit as ex-officio members. 

The status of ex-officio is suggested because it best indicates 
that kind of advisory relation with the Association which is all 
the principal and teachers should have. To assume any office 
in the Association would naturally place the faculty in the 
position of controlling Association policy, because of the power 
which it can exert as the highest school authority and which, 
being human, it could not fail to exert if given the opportun 
ity. The practice prevalent in many Associations to-day of 
giving the principal virtual veto power over the plans of the 
organization is bad, for able parents will not be drawn into an 
Association which functions as a spineless adjunct of the 
principal's office. 

To fill adequately the role of advisor and expert in the Associa 
tion requires considerable skill and, fundamentally, belief on the 
part of the principal in the efficacy of community organization. 
He must be willing to have his policies questioned, his theories sub 
jected to analysis, his school procedure open to suggestions for 
improvements and changes. It involves him in the difficult situa 
tion of pleasing two masters, his lay public and his professional 
superiors. Nothing except a recognition that such is actually 
his situation, whether he recognizes it or not, in the American 
educational philosophy, will support him in the annoyances and 
irritations and challenges to his professional pride which such a 
procedure entails. But the results are well worth the effort. He 
will be assisting in the development of community leaders; he will 
be able to iron out the latent antagonisms which frustrate so much 
of his best professional work; he will gain support for the develop- 



Organization 33 

ment and extension of his school plant; he will be able in the long 
run to do a professional job which will be a source of legitimate 
pride to himself and undoubtedly increase his prestige among his 
colleagues. There are sound gains to be made both for the com 
munity in which he works and for his own personal interests by 
experimenting with this administrative relationship with the 
Parent-Teacher Association. 

It is interesting to note that many of the important suggestions 
which have furthered educational progress in this country have 
been made by the laity; and such a relationship as is here sug 
gested seems to hold the promise of increasing and strengthening 
the contribution of the laity to educational experiments and de 
partures in which direction it already has an honorable record. 
Much of our school work is so unsatisfactory that it seems short 
sighted to overlook any source which might contribute toward its 
improvement and toward the realization of more permanent 
achievement. 

6. But this formal recognition which can be given voluntarily 
by the principal and teachers is, in the opinion of the author, not 
enough to insure the necessary prestige and standing of the As 
sociations. Their powers and status should be recognized in the 
by-laws of the boards of education in each city. This will enable , 
them to speak with authority on budget matters and the lay 
administration of the schools. The present legal machinery for 
administering the school system is lodged with a small number of 
people elected at large or appointed by some municipal head, 
known as the board of education. Without exception these are 
lay persons and they are supposed to represent the citizen power 
over education. But how many of them are trained to wield such 
power in the best interests of the school? How often are they not 
subservient to the political interests which appointed them? How 
much of the red tape, confusion, and muddled policies of many 
educational systems is due to this conflict of interests to which 
the legal authority in the educational system is subjected? If 
we are to eradicate this system, which seems grounded in 
American institutions, we must find some way of building up a so- 
called "pressure group" to use the language of the political 
scientists; this will help to check the political exploitation of the 
schools and will do so in no antagonistic, critical, negative spirit, 
but by substituting a program of well-thought-out, sound educa- 



34 The Parent-Teacher Association 

tional ideas for which it is willing to fight. In the past, such 
pressure groups as have been formed have represented only a 
minute fraction of our population, mostly the well-to-do who had 
only a theoretical interest in public education; and these groups 
have not indeed been representative at all of the rank and file of 
parents, who, in the last analysis, are those citizens with the most 
profound stake in our public education system. That boards of 
education will voluntarily offer the necessary recognition to 
Parent-Teacher Associations is unlikely. The Associations will 
have to insist on such recognition and it will be to the best interests 
of the professional educator to support their efforts in this direc 
tion. The patient educational work which the individual schools 
would perform under the scheme here outlined would prepare 
leaders among the parents to fill the r61e of city-wide leader 
ship, equipped with sound knowledge of the schools and their 
problems and with workable and creative suggestions for meeting 
them. 

7. In conclusion, the author suggests that aside from these ad 
ministrative and extra-legal devices, the most important con 
sideration in the development of a sound working relationship 
between the school and the home is the attitude of the principal 
and his faculty. Any administrative procedure can be made to 
function autocratically and arbitrarily, or the reverse. It all 
depends on the individual in power since no safeguards ever 
invented can prevent an individual in authority from using power 
selfishly, or autocratically. This is especially true when the 
individual in question is fortified by expert knowledge and is deal 
ing with a loosely-formed organization made up of people rela 
tively ignorant of his specialty and oppressed with personal 
problems which they have never been equipped to deal with in ab 
stract terms and in relation to a larger perspective. It is so easy, 
with the multitudinous duties thrust upon the principal of a 
modern school, to dismiss the queries of such groups, queries 
usually couched in non-academic terms, ill-expressed, perhaps only 
half-articulated. It is so easy to carry over the attitude with 
which an elder person deals with children, to his dealings with 
adults. To reverse this process, to be patient with stumbling and 
meagre intellectual processes while at the same time treating the 
person as an adult of equal standing, makes large demands upon 
the administrator and the person clothed with authority. The 



Organization 35 

inspiring results which conceivably might flow from such effort, 
both in personal development and in the rise of a new kind of in 
tegrated community around the local schoolhouse, with the 
fruitful influences it might have on education generally, seem to 
be quite enough to justify accepting the challenge involved in 
these new concepts. The strength to support such attitudes will 
be found in the allegiance of the individual principal to the prin 
ciples of democracy as conceived in the United States, as weU as 
in his devotion to the right of individual self-development which 
is theoretically guaranteed to every American citizen. Why 
should our educational institutions shut off the opportunity for 
such self-development to adults who are not enrolled as students 
in the schools? Why not make these Parent-Teacher Associations 
a field for the development of community leaders and a means of 
widening the horizons of the rank and file? Once embarked on 
the experiment of sincere adherence to the attitude suggested here, 
it is the author's conclusion, from the observations made, that the 
satisfaction of watching the development of individual parents 
who respond to such an attitude will be quite enough to stimulate 
further effort, to say nothing of the actual practical results in 
smoother working of the school administration which inevitably 
follow. 

The following specific functions indicate the mutual inter 
dependence of the school and the Parent-Teacher Association and 
show definitely the work of the school and the Parent-Teacher 
Association with reference to important functions which concern 
both groups. These functions should be considered by no means 
all-inclusive. 

THE WORK OF THE SCHOOL AND THE PARENT-TEACHER 

ASSOCIATION WITH REFERENCE TO IMPORTANT 

FUNCTIONS CONCERNING BOTH GROUPS 

PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION 

School Parent-Teacher Association 

A philosophy of education should The schools need the parent's aid 

be formulated by the school which and point of view to establish a stable 

will provide an inclusive program philosophy. Therefore the Parent- 

of education. Parents' aid should Teacher Association should assist in 

be sought through discussions and formulating an educational phil- 

conferences. osophy. 



36 The Parent-Teacher Association 

CURRICULUM AND METHOD 

School Parent-Teacher Association 

The Parent-Teacher Association One of the objectives of the Parent- 
should be consulted to bring to light Teacher Association should be to keep 
the practical aspect of the work and informed regarding the content and 
problems peculiar to the community, procedure of the school work. 
No course should be set up without 
considering the views and opinions 
of a lay public. 

TEACHER EFFICIENCY 

The school, because it is qualified The reaction of the parent to the 
by training to judge the work and work of the teacher is helpful to school 
efficiency of the teacher, should have administration. An intelligent dis- 
this responsibility. cussion of the teacher's work and 

problems by parent and teacher is 

desirable. 

TEACHER TRAINING 

Accepted standards should be re- Parent influence can demand that 
quired by the school administration, salaries be sufficient to command 

fit and adequate standards. 

PARENT EDUCATION 

The school should assist in formu- Parents should be responsible for 
lating a plan of Parent Education, organizing groups for instruction. 
It should furnish leadership, propose They should select leaders and subject 
methods, and assist in selection of matter; classify interests of parents; 
subject matter. Such a plan should and support a plan to make the school 
be financed partly by the Board of system responsible for releasing 
Education. money for Parent Education. Par 

ent Education should be the impor 
tant part of a Parent Teacher Asso 
ciation program. 

SCHOOL . PROBLEMS 

This is the responsibility of the The Parent-Teacher Association 
school administration, but the co- should give the school information 
operation of parents should be sought about the child such as pupil his- 
to acquire needed data and inforrna- tory, background, special interests, 
tion about the child. The views of the Parent-Teacher As 

sociation regarding the success or 
failure of the school are helpful. 



Organization 



37 



COMMUNITY 



School 



The school needs to study com 
munity problems and to keep the 
community informed about its edu 
cational program. The Parent- 
Teacher Association and other parent 
groups are a valuable medium. The 
school cannot do its work without the 
support of the tax-paying public. 



Parent-Teacher Association 

The study of local conditions should 
be the joint project of the school 
and the Parent-Teacher Association. 
Community groups should work with 
and for the schools. An extensive 
publicity program is imperative. 



CHIU> PSYCHOLOGY 



The school should be delegated to 
acquire as much information about 
the child as possible. 



The Parent-Teacher Association 
needs to keep informed regarding the 
psychology of the child and of learn 
ing. The program of the Associa 
tion should include much on this 
subject. Opportunities to study child 
psychology should be sought by the 
Parent-Teacher Association. Lead 
ers should be secured in and out of 
the school system to direct classes in 
child psychology. 



SCHOOL EQUIPMENT 



The board of education is respon 
sible for the provision of suitable 
educational equipment. 



The Parent-Teacher Association 
should not assume responsibility of 
the board with reference to the pur 
chasing of school equipment. Where 
the school suffers because of faulty 
administration, the buying of equip 
ment by the Parent-Teacher Asso 
ciation is a proper activity provided 
it does not interfere with the educa 
tional program. 



SUMMARY 

This study of the form and technique of organization of the 
Parent-Teacher Association and its relation to the school, based 
on a consideration of its purpose and function and a survey of prac 
tices in the National Congress and in one hundred local units, 
seems to yield the following conclusions: 

1. It is advisable in the organization of local units that the 
original impetus proceed from the parents themselves, although the 



38 The Parent-Teacher Association 

school may indirectly suggest the need and influence the formation 
of an organization. 

2. National and state organizations of Parent-Teacher Associa 
tions or, in the case of independent units, responsible centralized 
authority, should provide more skillful leadership and assistance 
to local Associations in matters of organization technique. This 
assistance should include a recognition of the fact that each 
community has specific local needs and should, in addition, embrace 
helpful suggestions in regard to such matters as the type of leader 
ship required for success, program, publicity, community or 
ganization, conduct of meetings, school and home relationship, 
community articulation, and so forth. 

3. The number of activities suggested by the National Congress 
should be reduced to allow each local unit to plan a program 
based on specific needs. 

4. Local Associations should be admitted to the State and 
National Congresses only when their programs are based on ac 
cepted standards and meet requirements approved by these two 
bodies. 

5. These requirements should include a definite recognition 
of the fact that the major function of the Parent-Teacher Associa 
tion is parent education. The program, therefore, should include 
a majority of activities which are educational and which provide 
for local needs. 

6. Emphasis should be placed on developing an interest on the 
part of men, both parents and teachers, in the work of the Parent- 
Teacher Association. 

7. There is great variation in the number of meetings held by 
the different Associations. Meetings should be held at least once a 
month at convenient times and places. Since more frequent meet 
ings are advisable to solve specific problems or further the con 
tinuity of the program, provision should be made for them. 

8. A concerted effort should be made to gain extra-legal recogni 
tion of the Parent-Teacher Association from the boards of educa 
tion. This effort could well be stimulated by the National Con 
gress and would do much to increase the prestige and stability of 
local Associations. 

9. Factors most important in the development of a sound work 
ing relationship between the school and Parent-Teacher Association 
are: 



Organization 39 

a) Admission of existing problem. 

6) Conception of education as a social process. 

c) Responsibility on the part of educators for keeping parents 
informed of what is going on in school. 

d) A parent education plan on the part of the school. 

e) Recognition of the Parent-Teacher Association in the by-laws 
of the board of education. 

/) Attitude of principal and his staff toward the home. 
g) Definition of specific functions. 



CHAPTER IV 

PUBLICITY AND FINANCE IN PARENT-TEACHER 
ASSOCIATIONS 



C, 



PUBLICITY 



COMMERCIAL enterprises have long recognized the fact that 
publicity is a necessity in order to secure acceptance of their ideas 
on the part of the public. This is true not only of commercial 
enterprises. It is equally true of any modern community or 
ganization which wishes to acquire public prestige and confidence. 
Increasingly this fact is being accepted by the leaders in Parent- 
Teacher Association work. A great many competent judges now 
believe that in order to forward a constructive educational pro 
gram for parents it is necessary to include as a major activity in 
association work an effective publicity set-up. 1 Table C 2 indicates 
also the important position publicity now occupies in the esti 
mation of State Presidents of the Parent-Teacher Association. 

In general, however, the principles, aims, and methods of pub 
licity have not been clearly understood and for this reason the 
publicity activity of the Parent-Teacher Association has been less 
than satisfactory. Indeed, it has been limited, uninteresting, and 
unsuccessful. 

Considering newspaper publicity alone, the writer found that 
editors in fifteen cities ranked Parent-Teacher Association news 
from fair to poor. Nearly all the editors claim that Parent- 
Teacher Associations dp. not submit interesting reports of ^ their 
activities. In addition, the presentation of the "news of their 
acSvETes is often poor. All the editors felt that they would 
publish more Parent-Teacher Association news if it were more 
interesting in content and in preparation. Farley, 3 listing thirteen 
school items used by the press, showed that Parent-Teacher As 
sociation news ranked thirteenth in quantity used in school re- 

iCf. Chapter IV, Table 2. 
2 See Appendix, Table C. 

aFarley, Belmont. What to Tell the People About ihe Public Schools. Bureau of Publica 
tions, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, 1929, Page 37. 

40 



Publicity and Finance 41 

ports. He also showed, in a study of 101 weeklies and 15 dailies, 
that Athletics had a score of 88 as compared with a score of 45 for 
Parent-Teacher Association news. 

In ranking thirteen school topics in order of interest, 5,067 
school patrons gave the news of Parent-Teacher Association activi 
ties a mean rank of twelve. Only two cities of the thirteen con 
sidered in the survey gave Parent-Teacher Association news a rank 
as high as ten. The other eleven cities ranked it twelve or thirteen. 
Thirty-nine boards of education scattered throughout the United 
States also gave reports of Parent-Teacher Association activities the 
lowest rank in interest out of a group of thirteen school activities. 

Reynolds 4 found that in 98 cities a large majority of editors 
rated the potential value of Parent-Teacher Association news as 
very high. Only 24 per cent of the editors print Parent-Teacher 
Association news daily. In the 98 cities included in Ms survey, 
he found: 

24% published Parent-Teacher Association news daily. 
22% published Parent-Teacher Association news irregularly. 

6% published Parent-Teacher Association news unspecified times. 

3% published Parent-Teacher Association news weekly. 

2% published Parent-Teacher Association news monthly. 

2% published Parent-Teacher Association news not at all. 
41% did not answer. 

Most of the above material is, of course, concerned only with 
the press publicity of the Parent-Teacher Association. It is in 
dicative, however, of the general weakness of the Association's 
present publicity activity. 

There are many avenues of publicity open to the Parent- 
Teacher Association. Among these we may list: word of mouth, 
specialized publications, daily and weekly newspapers, handbills, 
and posters. All these means may be utilized in acquainting 
the public with the functions and purposes of the Association. 
But in the use of any of these avenues, the indispensable element 
is "news value." Something has to be about to happen, or must 
have happened, in order to secure any kind of publicity. The 
thing that has happened or is about to happen must be interesting 
in itself and must be interestingly presented or any attempts at 
arousing public interest through publicity will fail. 

^Reynolds, Rollo G. Newspaper Publicity for the Public Schools, A. G. Seller, 1224 Amster 
dam Ave., New York City, 1922. Page 39. 



42 The Parent-Teacher Association 

Among the activities engaging the attention of the Parent- 
Teacher Associations which have a definite news value, we may 
list: 

1. Programs including addresses by distinguished speakers. 

2. Entertainments and special nights for parents and visitors. 

3. Parties and receptions. 

4. A membership campaign. 

5. Lectures of Parent-Teacher Association officials before other civic groups. 

6. Joint projects with other civic groups. 

7. Projects undertaken by the Parent-Teacher Association. 

8. Projects for community betterment. 

These activities, though they may in some cases be in themselves 
unimportant, would serve the purpose of bringing the attention of 
the public to the work of the Parent-Teacher Association. After 
this has been done a more specific expression of the duties and 
functions of the Parent-Teacher Association would be possible. 

The first step in a publicity program is the creation of items 
of news value. The second step is the presentation of these items 
to the public through the avenues of publicity listed above and by 
means of the following devices: 

1. Printed programs. 

2. Exhibition of scrapbook showing activities. 

3. Telephone. 

4. Radio. 

5. Theatre. 

6. Bulletin board. 

7. Convention reports. 

8. Library. 

9. Superintendents Annual Report to the Board of Education. 

10. School papers. 

Although all these avenues, devices, and items of news interest 
are at present used by the Parent-Teacher Association, they are un 
fortunately not used to their best advantage, as is exemplified by 
the study of newspaper publicity of the Parent-Teacher Association 
at the beginning of the chapter. One reason for this failure, the 
lack of knowledge of methods of publicity, has already been 
listed^ A further reason for this failure is that in many cases the 
people in charge of publicity are not always entirely clear about 
the policies, functions, purposes, and plans of their Association 
and are likely to fall into the error of looking upon publicity work 



Publicity and Finance 43 

as an end in itself, or as a means of increasing membership solely, 
instead of considering it as a means of increasing the prestige of 
the organization and bringing the public to an understanding of 
its civic importance. 

FINANCE 

Turning now to a consideration of the finances of the Parent- 
Teacher Association, we may note that local units have always 
been self-supporting. Any study of this situation is valuable only 
to the extent that it correlates an understanding of the character 
and sources of income and expenditure with a realization of the 
part that income and expenditure play in directing and influencing 
the activity of the group. 

The basis of income for most local community organizations is 
the membershigjtee, although in some organizations membership 
is free. The fees range from twenty-five cents a term to one 
dollar per year. In many Associations one dollar is the charge for 
family rather than for individual membership. Supplementing 
this source of income in the local Association, money may be 
raised through such means as entertainments, sales, advertising, 
donations, card parties, and gifts. The majority of the Associa 
tions feel that it is necessary to supplement the tax budget in order 
to provide money for school equipment, charity and relief. 5 This 
feeling was encouraged originally in order to direct the activity of 
the Parent-Teacher Associations into channels that would interfere 
little with the educational prerogatives and ideas of the school 
system. It has grown to such an unfortunate extent, however, 
that the budgets of most Associations do not include any item to 
care for the important work of parent education. At present, 
however, there is an improvement in attitude to be noted 6 and some 
organizations are beginning to recognize their neglect of this 
most important function. A few organizations have planned for 
parent education as an item of cost in their budgets. 

Where a program of parent education has been adopted, it is 
usually financed with funds provided by members and by means of 
volunteer or trained leadership not attached to the local school 
faculties. A very few cities have taken over the responsibility of 

s Associations of high rank raise funds in a dignified way, using one concerted effort to secure 
needed money. 

^Particularly in New York, California and other states where Parent Education agencies have 
carried on considerable propaganda. 



44 The Parent-Teacher Association 

parent education, assuming at the same time all financial obliga 
tions. But such a scheme is necessarily a part of the school pro 
gram and is controlled by the school. 

In 1924 Butterworth 7 found that an undue emphasis was 
placed on the money-raising activities of local Associations. In 
nine states 50.3 per cent of the activities performed by 598 As 
sociations in communities with a population of 2,500 or less were 
activities to provide money for the school. For communities 
above 2,500 population the average percentage of money raising 
activities was 41.1 per cent. 

Table D 8 shows the activities entered upon by one hundred As 
sociations, selected at random throughout the United States, for 
the purpose of raising money. The methods are arranged in order 
of frequency. 

Table F 9 shows how these one hundred Associations spent their 
money. 

That the various Parent-Teacher Associations have had financial 
struggles is unfortunate, but the policy of self-support has many 
advantages. It may in some respects be difficult but it jji^^ctg 
Ji^^jsociat^ns^from outside controJL It also affords them a 
greater opportunity to influence policies, legislation, and educa 
tional practice. Rogers 10 says, "If parents are not independent 
of the school the civic potentialities of the movement must in a 
large measure be abandoned at the beginning." 

Assuming, therefore, that self-support is desirable, it would seem 
that after a policy of self-support is undertaken it would then be 
advisable for the educational authorities to place at the disposal 
of the Association some financial resources and leadership in its 
personnel. Writing on this point, Rogers 11 says: 

If the plan of self-support is adopted immediate problems are presented. 
The first is the kind of relationship which can be worked out between the 
parent organization and the educational authorities. There is no doubt that 
the educational system should assist the movement in some way because its 
own efficiency stands to gain by the cooperation of educated parents. It 
would seem that the most logical plan is for the educational authorities to 
make available to the parent organization assistance on the technical aspects 

'Butterworth, J. E. Op. eit. 
See Appendix, Table D. 
See Appendix, Table F. 

"Rogers, M. L. A Contribution to the Theory and Practice of Parent-Teacher Associations in 
the United Stales. United Parents Associations, New York City, 1931. Page 68. 
"Rogers, M. L. Op. cit. 



Publicity and Finance 45 

of study group work, while leaving the parents free to initiate and pursue 
the other activities here suggested as highly important. Such a plan is now 
in operation in New York State and working admirably. 

Let us now consider the income and expenditures of the National 
Congress which is largely supported by the dues of the members of 
the local Congress units. As a rule, fifteen cents of the member 
ship fee of each individual member of each local Association is sent 
to the State Congress, which retains ten cents for its own budget 
and forwards five cents to the National Congress. The total 
receipts of the National Congress from forty-eight Associations 
for the year 1930-1931 were $93,581.19. 12 To this total must be 
added further receipts of $23,773.40 collected by the Congress 
office. TJiis includes the return from publications, emblems, con 
ventions, interest, returns from the field, and other miscellaneous 
items. 

Founders' Day, established to celebrate the birthday of the 
Congress, provided considerable revenue in the form of gifts from 
local units through state organizations. One-half of the sum 
raised in a state on Founders' Day is kept in the state for ex 
tension purposes. The other half is sent to the national treasurer 
by the state treasurer. \ 

More specific information as to the proportional distribution 
of income according to source is shown in Table E. 13 Similarly, 
the distribution of the expenditure of the national organization is 
shown in Table G. H We may note, generally, that the total 
expenditure was $116,089.54, over 34 per cent of which or $40,000 
was spent for salaries. JNfo^^^ 

However, the national office and directors of departments spent 
$12,663.09. An item of $3,554.14 represents money expended 
for conducting the campaign to correct the physical defects of 
children entering school for the first time, tnown as the "Summer 
Round-Up," 15 and an item of $7,902.47 provides for the expenses 
incurred by secretaries for work done in the field. 

The State Congress income, comprising a fee of ten cents per 
member in most states, is usually expended for such general ex- 

* 2 A statement of receipts of the National Congress for this year may be obtained from 1201 
16th Street N. W., Washington, D. C. 

"See Appendix, Table E. 

"See Appendix, Table G. 

"Reeve, M. W. and Lombard, E. C. The Parent-Teacher Association, 1924-4926, U. S. 
Bulletin 1927, No. 11. Page 9. 



46 The Parent-Teacher Association 

penses as conventions, travel, office expenses, bulletins, and 
publicity. 

SUMMARY 

The study of the publicity activities and the financial system 
of the Parent-Teacher Association makes it possible to set up the 
following recommendations. 

Publicity 

Since publicity is considered an item of major importance by 
many judges of the Parent-Teacher Association activities, and 
since the present publicity activity of the organization is demon- 
strably insufficient, it should therefore be the subject of more careful 
consideration than has been given to it in the past. In doing this, 
however, care should be taken that the Associations do not fall 
into the opposite error of placing too much emphasis upon pub 
licity. It is valuable only as a means. With these things 
in mind, therefore, the following recommendations are pre 
sented: 

1. Parent-Teacher Association officials must understand clearly 
the purposes, plans, functions, and policies of their organization in 
order to administer an effective publicity department. 

2. Since publicity is classified under three headings, (a) the 
creation of items of news value, (6) avenues and (c) devices to be 
used, each one of these should be subjected to separate study in 
order to see how their usefulness may be increased, and the three 
studies should then be coordinated into a working publicity pro 
gram which should comprise the following items: 

a) The Parent-Teacher Association should be dynamic and 
aggressive in making its activities interesting enough to 
appeal to the press. 

b) Methods employed by publicity experts should be studied 
and applied to the needs of Parent-Teacher Association 
work. 

c) Training for publicity work should be made available and 
required of all state workers in charge of the publicity work 
of the Parent-Teacher Association, 

d) There should be an organized publicity set-up under the 
direction of a competent chairman who should receive help 
from a trained expert provided by the State and National 



Publicity and Finance 47 

Congress 16 or from some high centralized authority on asso 
ciation work. This help should include a set of principles 
governing the selection, organization, style, and compo 
sition of materials as well as a system of submitting news 
in a manner satisfactory to the local editor. 

3. News should be collected and released systematically before 
and after all meetings, including annual group meetings. This 
should be supplemented with news and plans of the Association as 
formulated by the president and the executive committee. 

4. Cordial relations must be established between the Parent- 
Teacher Association and the press. 

5. The 49 Congress Units which considered publicity important 
enough to give it third place in order of frequency in a list of 61 
activities mentioned in their reports 17 to the National Congress, 
should encourage the local units to make more use of a constructive 
publicity program. (See Appendix, Table C). 

6. The state publicity program should be placed on a business 
basis with a definite budget administered under the direction of the 
president, 

Finance 

1. There should be definite dues for membership. 

2. The Parent-Teacher Association should be financially inde 
pendent if it is to have an effective influence in the community. 
The local school system may then provide some aid since it must 
recognize that the work of the Parent-Teacher Association will 
result in an increase in the efficiency of its educational work. An 
enlightened parent will be of inestimable value to child, school, and 
community. 

3. Finally, in budgeting the expense of local units it must be 
continually borne in mind that the Association's major work is to 
be parent education, and money and interest should not be ex 
pended beyond a point where such expenditure threatens to inter 
fere with a well-rounded educational program. 

win 1929, 149 students took correspondence courses offered by the National Congress of 
Parents and Teachers. Proceedings of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 1929. 
Page 91. 17 I6iU Pages 30-31. 



CHAPTER V 

FUNCTIONS, PURPOSES, AND ACTIVITIES OF THE 
PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 

JLHE purpose of this chapter is to compare the theoretical functions 
and purposes of the Parent-Teacher Association with the activities 
in which the separate Associations are engaged, and to attempt 
to discover what relation exists between the two. In a perfectly 
adjusted organization we would find that all the activities of the 
group were directed toward a successful achievement of its theo 
retical purposes. In the attempt to discover how nearly true this 
is of the work of the Parent-Teacher Association, three distinct 
studies were made. 

The first is an evaluation by forty directing officers of the Parent- 
Teacher Association and forty administrators in the field of 
education, of sixteen primary purposes and functions of the Parent- 
Teacher Association. The result of this study indicates what, in 
the opinions of the leaders of the work, should be the objectives 
toward which the Association should work. Their opinions repre 
sent a theoretical approach to the subject. 

The second study is an evaluation by one hundred presidents of 
local Parent-Teacher Associations and one hundred school ad 
ministrators, such as principals of schools and supervisors, of the 
most important activities which in their opinion should occupy the 
attention of local Parent-Teacher Associations. The jurors in this 
study represent a group that is in more direct and intimate contact 
with the practical work in the field. They have a realization and 
an understanding of the theoretical approach exemplified in the 
first study, but the limitations imposed by practical activity im 
pinge upon them more immediately than upon the first group. 

The third study is a compilation of the activities actually carried 
on by one hundred Parent-Teacher Associations studied by the 
author. 

STUDY ONE 

The theoretical functions and purposes of the Parent-Teacher 
Association were selected from a careful analysis of literature on the 

48 



Functions, Purposes, Activities 49 

subject and from a study of books written in the field. This 
analysis was supplemented by a study of state and national reports, 
proceedings, programs, annual meetings, and constitutions. Com 
bining the results from these two sources, sixteen objectives toward 
which the work of the Parent-Teacher Association is supposedly 
directed were selected and presented to forty Parent-Teacher 
Association officials for purposes of ranking them in the order of 
their importance. 1 These officials were selected from the roster 
of administrative officers of national or state federations or paid 
experts employed by the National Congress, and from officers and 
experts of independent state and city federations as well. These 
officers gave their judgments and the scale was then submitted to 
forty administrators in the field of education. Many of these 
were students of Administration and Elementary Education at 
Teachers College, Columbia University, capable of giving an in 
telligent and unbiased report, 

In summarizing the opinions of these two groups, the following 
technique was used: The rank given an objective by the individual 
juror was considered the score for that objective. The total sum 
of such scores for a single objective would be the final score of each 
objective, as shown in Table 1. A low total score indicates a more 
important objective, since a rating of 1 to 16 in order of importance 
was given by each juror. The lowest possible score in point of 
importance is, therefore, 640. The highest possible score is 40. 

In summarizing the results of the above judgments we find that 
there is some agreement about the comparative importance of the 
functions and purposes as ranked by the two groups. Thus, al 
though the Parent-Teacher Association officials would rank Child 
development first and The parents' rok in modern education second, 
and the educational administrators reverse this judgment, never 
theless both groups assign to both activities places of the highest 
importance. The greatest difference in opinion is found in regard 
to Cooperation in solving school problems. The administrator would 
evidently reserve this function for the schools. 

On other matters, however, the correlation between the two 
groups is significant. These judges show a strong tendency to pull 
away from non-educational activities and to devote the attention 
of the Associations to activities designed to educate the parent 

1 See Appendix for scale of rating social values of theoretical objectires of Parents Associa 
tions or Parent-Teacher Associations, pages 119-120. 



50 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



TABLE 1 

IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES OF PABENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION AS RANKED BY 
40 ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS AND 40 SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS 



OBJECTIVE 


PRESIDENTS' 
RANKING 


ADMINISTRA 
TORS' 

RAINTKING 


Rank 


Score 


Rank 


Score 


Providing information to bring about changes for 
the better in regard to child development, habits 
of learning, etc. . 


1 

2 
3 
4 

5 
6 

7 

8 
9 

10 
11 
12 

13 

14 

15 
16 


193 

198 

217 
230 

237 
286 

301 

304 
329 

358 
381 
420 

423 
476 

504 

514 


2 

1 

7 

4 

3 

6 

10 

8 
5 

9 

14 
13 

12 
11 

16 
15 


192 

163 

273 
236 

233 
26r 

358 

280 
240 

328 
434 
37? 

377 
367 

488 

452 


Providing an understanding of the parents' rdle in 
modern education, the value and opportunities of 
the Parent-Teacher Association, etc 


Cooperating with the educational staff to solve school 
problems such as homework, reading habits, etc. . 
Providing a means for social intercourse between 
parents and teachers, etc 


Organizing and assisting study groups in child de 
velopment, the parent-child relationship generally 
known as " parent education" ... 


Helping toward a better understanding of commun 
ity conditions, needs, etc 


Working to correct physical defects of children 
through such devices as the "Summer Round- 
Up," etc 


Providing general knowledge of the school philoso 
phy, curriculum-making in relation to the chang 
ing social situation, etc 


Working on a legislative program for better school 
conditions, etc 


Supporting state national organizations in their 
efforts for equalization of educational opportuni 
ties^ etc 


Providing charitable relief for families of poor in the 
school district, etc 


Educating the public as to the Association's pro 
gram, publicity set-up, etc 


Financing experimental work in the school curriculum 
to be used as demonstrators, etc 


Providing scholarships for gifted children 


Making material gifts to the school sucb as pictures, 
radios, various kinds of equipment, not provided 
by the school board , 


Providing a cultural program with no necessary 
emphasis on the needs of the child, etc 





Note: A low rank or score indicates an objective of primary importaBce. 



Functions, Purposes, Activities 51 

and to help the child. Thus, cultural activities with no necessary 
emphasis on the needs of the child and the making of material 
gifts to the school are given the last two places by both groups while 
more direct educational activities are rated higher. 

The above, then, is the attitude of a number of leaders in Parent- 
Teacher Association work and leaders in educational thought. 
The judgments on the scale are admittedly incomplete but they do 
provide us with an understanding of a point of view. We can see 
from a study of their scales what, in the opinions of these judges, 
are the significant functions and purposes of the Parent-Teacher 
Association. 

STUDY TWO 

Let us turn now to a consideration of the activities which, in 
the opinion of those Parent-Teacher Association officials and school 
administrators in more direct contact with the work in the field, 
are considered of primary importance. 

After a careful study of the work and program of one hundred 
Associations, supplemented by an analysis of national and state 
proceedings and reports as well as an examination of programs, 
meetings, resolutions, periodicals, and opinions of administrators, 
eleven activities occurring most frequently as major activities in the 
program of the Parent-Teacher Association were listed and in 
cluded in a questionnaire. 2 This questionnaire was sent to one 
hundred presidents of local Parent-Teacher Associations and to one 
hundred school administrators (principals, and so forth) . 3 They were 
asked to evaluate in terms of importance the eleven activities listed. 

Table 2 is a summary of their judgments. A technique similar 
to that used in scoring the judgments on Parent-Teacher Associ 
ation proposed functions and purposes was used. The rank given 
an activity by the juror was considered the score of that activity. 
The total sum of such scores as given by the one hundred jurors 
would be the final score of each activity as shown in Table 2. 
Since each activity was numbered 1 to 11 in order of importance 
by each juror, a low numerical score would indicate the more 
important activity. The lowest possible score in point of im 
portance is, therefore, 1,100. The highest possible score is 100. 

A consideration of Table 2 reveals a perfect correlation in the 
judgments of the two sets of jurors on Activities Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 

2 See Appendix, page 125. 

*See Appendix, page 125, for list of cooperating states. 



52 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



10. Also both groups give Entertainments and Making of gifts to 
the school a low rating, although the school administrators, again 
apparently zealous to defend their administrative prerogatives, 
place Solving of certain school problems in last place as con 
trasted with the eighth place given this activity by the Parent- 
Teacher Association presidents. 

TABLE 2 

IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES AS RANKED BY 100 ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS AND 
100 SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS 



ACTIVITY 


PRESIDENTS* 
RANKING 


ADMINISTRA 
TORS' 
HANKING 


Rank 


Score 


Rank 


Score 


Study Groups* 


1 

2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
10 
11 


273 
341 
346 
436 
561 
567 
603 
647 
698 
846 
859 


1 
5 
3 

4 
2 
6 
8 
11 
7 
10 
9 


308 

457 
424 
431 
419 
472 
527 
777 
500 
724 
676 


Program of Parent Education 


Study of Child Psychology 


Study of School Work and Methods 


Community Projects 


Demonstrations or Exhibits of School Problems . . . 
Publicity 


Solving Certain School Problems 


Social Intercourse 


Entertainments 


Making Gifts to School 





Note: A low score or rank indicates an activity of primary importance. 

*See Appendix for definition and detailed explanation of study groups. Pages 117-118. 

In this set of judgments also we find a tendency to pull away from 
non-educational activities and to direct the interests and energies 
of the group toward a study of the child, of education, and of 
parenthood. This tendency is not so marked as it was in the first 
study, a fact which can be accounted for by the difference in points 
of view of the judges. Therefore, we find that whereas in the 
first study Parent education was given third place in order of 
importance by the administrators, it is given only fifth place in the 
second study by the administrators. 

There is demonstrated, therefore, a slight lag in the attitude 
of the administrators in the field behind that of the judges with a 
more purely theoretical approach, further removed from the field 
problems. 

STUDY THREE 

Let us turn finally to a consideration of the activities which are 
actually being carried on by the Parent-Teacher Association. One 



Functions, Piirposes, Activities 53 

hundred Parent-Teacher Associations were studied and a table 
compiled indicating the activities in which these one hundred 
Associations engaged. The meetings of the Associations at 
which these activities originate or take place, occur on the aver 
age of nine times a year. 4 The meetings usually begin at 8:15 

TABLE 3-A 

ACTIVITIES CARRIED ON BY 100 PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS IN ORDER 

OF FREQUENCY 

Study Groups* 50 

Relief for Children 40 

Parent Education 35 

Child Welfare 28 
Purchase Squipment-Cifts 27 
Summer Found-up 
Know Your School 

Hot Lunches 

library 

Beautify School 

Consnunity Projects 

Card Parties 

Literary Courses 

Student Aid or Loan Fund 

Character Education 

Hecreation . 2 g 

Lecture Course* 2 H 

Playground 2 m 

*Includes variety of subjects such as: Education of the Child, Parent and Child, Child 
Relationships, School Work and Methods, etc. 

and last from one hour and a half to two hours, not including the 
time spent in social intercourse. These regular association meet 
ings are not to be confused with the meetings of committees, study 
groups, council or state meetings. 

^Compare Chapter II, page 25. 




54 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



A typical agenda 5 follows: 

1. Opening, singing, minutes, etc. 

2. Business session, reports, committees, announcements by the President, 
etc. 

3. Entertainment. 

4. Topic for the evening, lectures, discussion, demonstration. 

5. Plans for the next meeting. 

6. Social hour. 

Considering this agenda, it would seem possible under Items 
2, 4 and 5 to achieve a great deal of activity which would be in line 
with the theoretical purposes and functions of the group. How 
ever, a consideration of Tables 3-A and 3-B will indicate to what 

TABLE 3-B 
ACTIVITIES MENTIONED ONCE ONLY 



Raising Money 

Music Appreciation 

Humane Education 

Correlation of IJome and School 

Educational Program 

Free Milk 

Scouting 

Nutrition 

Social 

First Aid 

Parliamentary Work 

Preschool Examination 

Courtesy Drives 

Mother Choruses 

School Museum 

Better Films 

Cafeteria 

Use of Leisure Time 

Safety Traffic 

Clinics 

Mother Singers 

Theatricals and Dramatics 

Mental Hygiene 



Art 

Adult Reading Program 

Festivals 

Distribution of Clothing 

Fathers' Night 

Minstrel Show 

Operetta 

Social Welfare 

Child's Reading 

Vocational Guidance 

Pageantry 

Banquets 

Oratory 

Class Demonstrations 

Disease Prevention 

Social Times for Parents and Teachers 

Radio Lectures 

Better Parks 

Promoting Friendliness and Good Will 

Motion Pictures 

Rummage Sales 

Red Cross 



extent the activities of the group are dispersed and the general 
diffusion of interest found in the field. While all the important 
activities are represented in the listing, there is an almost over 
whelming inclusion of activities which are neither valuable nor 
directed. 



5 One hundred programs representing Associations throughout the United States. 



Functions, Purposes, Activities 55 

When we examine these activities in the light of the proposed 
functions and purposes considered as important in the light 
even of the activities considered as important by the two sets of 
judges in Studies One and Two there is seen to be a great dis 
crepancy between function and activity. It is significant that, 
although the judges in both studies relegated the Making of gifts 
to the school to a very low place, it nevertheless, in the activities 
actually engaging the attention of the group, occupies one of the 
highest places. In addition we find listed such extraneous mat 
ters as Beautify school, Relief for children, Community projects, Card 
parties, and the other activities on Table 3-B listed as mentioned 
only once. These are all activities which, though in themselves 
they may be a very essential part of the people's lives, nevertheless 
bear little or no relation to the functions and purposes of the 
Parent-Teacher Association. While it may be argued that in 
themselves they do little harm, it is important to consider that 
they take time away from the more important activities which 
should be engrossing the attention of the group, and in this way 
they weaken the efficiency and civic significance of the Association. 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

Comparing the results of the three studies made in this chapter, 
there is seen to be a clear understanding and agreement on the part 
of Parent-Teacher Association officials and educational authorities 
in regard to the functions of the Parent-Teacher Association. 
There is, however, a slight discrepancy between the functions 
considered important by this group and the activities considered 
important by the group of judges in closer contact with the work in 
the field. And there is a much greater discrepancy between the 
ideas of either of these two groups and the actual work being 
carried on by the local Parent-Teacher Associations. 

If the Association is to continue its work and become an asspci- 
"ggj.^^ and child ' 

weHar^' ]$&:&. musjrbe "sr eft^nopt^ theoretical 

statement of functions anil purposes ^mdTffie**ffclivity of the .Associ- 
^tiQjl^^ie purposes and functions of the Association, as under 
stood by the people who are at the head of the work, must also be 
clearly understood by the local Associations and all their activities 
must be directed toward the furtherance of their defined purposes. 



56 The Parent-Teacher Association 

With this in mind, therefore, Chapter VII is offered as a specific 
recommendation of one method by which the activity and work 
of the Parent-Teacher Association may be coordinated and related 
to its conceived functions. Before we consider these, however, let 
us examine in Chapter VI the work of ten Parent-Teacher Associ 
ations in the light of the three studies referred to in this chapter. 



A, 



CHAPTER VI 
CASE STUDIES 



. COMPREHENSIVE view of the Parent-Teacher Association would 
not be complete without a fairly intensive study of the Association 
at work. The author, realizing the difficulty of evaluating the 
Parent-Teacher Association through generalized observation and 
questionnaire treatment, decided to subject fifteen selected Parent- 
Teacher Associations in fifteen cities and three states to a more 
direct analysis. Of this number it was necessary to eliminate five 
for various reasons such as lack of complete records, lack of interest, 
and lack of cooperation. The population of the cities in which the 
ten case studies were made ranged from 10,000 to that of the largest 
city in the United States. The range of membership in the Associ 
ations studied was 70 to 600. Since the writer wished to determine 
to what extent the Association was functioning in the light of the 
purposes determined in Chapter V, the Associations finally se 
lected were characterized as "typical" 1 in relation to present-day 
standards of work. 

Most of the Associations were visited twice by the writer, during 
which time personal interviews were obtained with the presidents 
of the Associations and the principals of the schools. A check list 2 
was used to record the practices of the organizations. An ex 
haustive study of purposes, programs and activities, meetings, 
minutes, and the reaction of the community was included in the 
study. Opinions of lay persons, teachers, editors of the local press, 
and the school superintendents were obtained. The writer believes 
that in every case correct interpretations of the data were made. 

Table 4 summarizes the important factors of the ten case studies 
included by the writer in his study. Each case was measured in 
terms of a scale adapted from Butterworth's 3 self-administering 
scale. The weight of each item represents the average opinion of 

l The ten Associations were all rated, however, as above the average by the National Congress 
or United Parents Associations centralized group. 
2 See Appendix, pages 123-124. 
sButterworth, J. E. The Parent-Teacher Association and Its Work. Macmillan Company, 1929. 

57 



58 



The Parent-Teacher Association 







- 


Fair 
interest 


Superior 


5 


300-325 


pl 


* 


D 





. 


CO 
CO 


Over 
100,000 


Average 


LitUe or 
none 


o 

r-t 


Helpful 
guidance 


,Real 

interest 


00 






H 


li 


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Case Studies 61 

75 administrators students at Teachers College. It does not 
represent the writer's personal opinion. The rank or score in Table 
4 indicates the score of the ten Parent-Teacher Associations in 
cluded in this study. The scores range from. 60 to 76. The com 
posite weighted judgments of 75 jurors are given on page 110. 

The ten Associations show definite weaknesses in these items: 
"The Year's Objectives and Their Attainment/' " Definite Study 
of Educational Needs," "Budget and the Educational Program, 5 * 
"Publicity," "Parent Education," "Percentage of Men Mem 
bers," "Utilization of Membership," "Leadership," "Unified Pro 
gram," and "Acquiring Social Power Through Participation in 
Public Affairs." On the other hand, there is a universal element 
of strength in such items as "Committee Organization," "Teacher 
Membership," "Meetings," "Absence of Friction," "Social Inter 
course," and "Types of Activities," "Attitude of School toward 
the Home." All the cases show a fair organization of their Study 
Group work. 

SUMMARY OF THE TEN CASE STUDIES 
(Names of the Associations are represented by letters A to J.) 

Association A 

This Association in a small rural community faces problems that 
differ from those in a large industrial city. It is without many of 
the advantages found in large municipalities, such as art, science, 
health clinics, libraries, and the like. It, therefore, has had to put 
a great deal of emphasis on civic betterment projects in its program 
and has organized such activities as baby clinics, correction of 
physical defects, and research information with reference to 
agricultural and community work. 

There are 150 members, 20 per cent of whom are men. Teacher 
membership is 100 per cent. Attendance is approximately 65 per 
cent. About one-third of the homes of the district are represented. 
Committee organization is well provided for. The executive com 
mittee facilitates the business of the organization. As stated 
above, many of the activities engaging the interest of the group are 
non-educational, but a good deal of energy is directed toward the 
consideration of major problems. There has been a definite at 
tempt to study needs and understand what responsibilities and 
opportunities are those of the Parent-Teacher Association in the 
education of the child. 



62 The Parent-Teacher Association 

It is recommended that the Association give careful consideration 
to Objectives Nos. 3, 4, and 10 as set up in Chapter V in order 
that it may carry forward the fine work begun. It is important 
that this Association increase its effort to provide a general knowl 
edge of the school philosophy, curriculum making in relation to a 
changing social situation, school procedures, and so forth. 

Administration of relief, because of the economic stress of 
present conditions, has further served to diversify the activities 
of the group. The purchasing of equipment for the school is con 
sidered an important activity. There is independence in thought 
and action, and an aggressive attempt to safeguard the welfare 
of the child; good leadership, hard work, and cooperation have 
given the Association an excellent rating by the State Congress. 
The Association has brought about the following desirable changes: 

1. Reduction of turnover. 

2. Helpful educational activity; discussions of school problems such as 
health, curricula, recreation, etc. 

3. Higher salaries for teachers. 

4. Correction of health defects in pre-school children. 

5. Better curriculum. 

6. Better community support of schools. 

7. Better housing conditions. 

Some of the problems still facing the group are: 

1. A need of delimiting its problems. 

2. A need of a clear statement of its functions and an understanding of 
the community problems which He within its province. 

3. A need of integrating its activities in relation to its problems. 

4. Extension of study groups to include more parents, especially men (see 
Appendix, page 117). 

Association B 

This Association, located in a large industrial city, has a cos 
mopolitan group of 300 members. All the teachers belong, but 
only 15 per cent of the members are men. The average attendance 
is 60 per cent. There are ten regular meetings. The only supple 
mentary meetings are study groups of younger mothers, usually 
held in the homes. Leadership is above the average, many of the 
leaders having been specially trained. 

The Association was formed to protest an undesirable use of the 
school building by the Board of Education. Despite such an un 
fortunate way of organizing, the success of the Association has 



Case Studies 63 

been marked. Some of the activities are of the higher educational 
type, but they do not all achieve their purpose or function in an 
effective educational plan. There is a necessity, recognized by the 
leaders, to study the problems and needs of the community. The 
activities then selected, instead of being scattered as they now are, 
should be directed toward a solution of the immediate problems. 
The economic disorder of the city has also occasioned a diversifi 
cation of interest, since the Association has of necessity had to 
aid the community in providing relief to the needy. 

The local press is optimistic about the Parent-Teacher Associ 
ation and the value of its news. It therefore remains the duty of 
the Association to embark upon a directed publicity program and to 
increase its prestige through the use of the press, bulletins, school 
paper, and other media. 

There should be a greater realization of the true purposes and 
functions of the Parent-Teacher Association. This Association 
should study Objectives Nos. 3, 9, 10, and 16 listed in Chapter V* 
More emphasis should be placed on the objectives which give the 
parents a true conception of their responsibilities and opportunities 
in the education of the child. An extension of the Study Group 
plan is suggested to help achieve this end. 

Friction is not a problem, and there is evidence of fine co 
operation. The community has faith in the Parent-Teacher 
Association as evidenced by support and interest. Turnover in 
membership is large. There is need of greater independence in 
action. A unified program should be considered at once by this 
Association. It has the leadership, interest, and support necessary 
to present a splendid educational program. All that is necessary 
now is a formulation of problems and a relating of activity to func 
tion. 

There is no evidence that the Association goes beyond its lay 
function. It is progressive and aggressive to support modern 
education and child welfare, and has supported better salaries for 
teachers. It has also a fine rating in the State Congress. It has 
brought about many desirable changes, among which we may list: 



1. Greater friendliness on the part of teachers. 

2. Closer cooperation on the part of the membership. 

3. Good community response. 

4. Training of leaders. 

5. More parents interested in visiting school. 



64 The Parent-Teacher Association 

6. Special study group meetings based on the interests of certain groups. 

7. Welfare work. 

8. Better physical conditions for children. 

9. "Room Mothers Plan" to contact school work. 

10. Community program. 

Special problems still facing the Association are: 

1. Men membership. 

2. Extension of educational activities reduction or range of activities. 

3. Unified program. 

4. Publicity program. 

5. Development of leaders. 

6. Effective Study Group plan. 

Association C 

If we examine Table 4 (page 58) for the summary of Association 
C, we note that the 100 per cent teacher membership is offset by 
the fact that no men are included in the membership. The number 
of homes represented is high but is weakened again by the fact 
that men participate but little. However, men do attend meet 
ings. The Association, working without any perceptible friction? 
keeps well within its province although the wide range of activities 
needs coordination. The many activities which the group ag 
gressively promotes for child welfare need direction and consoli 
dation in a program under the Unit-of-Work system. The activities 
are not carried to a point where they represent a concentration of 
interests and energies toward the solution of major problems. 
The Association should study its needs, recognize its problems, and 
organize its program. 

The purchasing of equipment has not interfered with the more 
important major problems of the Association. The type of activi 
ties carried on by the Association has done much toward the 
creation of items of news value. It now remains for the Associ 
ation to study avenues and devices in order to see how their 
usefulness may be increased. Avenues of publicity outside of the 
local press should be used by this Association. The legislative 
program is above the average. Though the Association is not 
political, it has been able to support favorable school legislation. 
There is potential leadership in this group. They have done well 
under the plan of self-training, but assistance from training agencies 
outside of their Association should be made available. There is 



Case Studies 65 

evidence of sound business procedure. The budget of the Associ 
ation is planned in the light of educational activities. There 
is little emphasis on money-raising activities. The study groups 
need extension to include more of the membership. It is suggested 
that one or two special groups be organized for the men of the 
district. 

Strong Factors in the Association 

1. Teacher membership. 

2. Aggressiveness in work. 

3. Health program. 

4. Desirable changes brought about, such as: 
a) Increased teachers' salaries. 

6) Better school housing. 

c) Better police protection. 

d) Recreation periods for children. 

e) Favorable school legislation. 
/) Visiting teacher. 

5. Committee work. 

6. Educational activities. 

Factors Still To Be Considered 

1. Purposes and functions of Parent-Teacher Association. 

2. Integration of activities. 

3. Extension and relation of study group activities. 

4. Development of a publicity program. 

5. Securing of men members. 

6. Means of reaching more parents. 

Association D 

This typical Association in a town of approximately 10,000 
population has a membership of 60 or 70 members. They are of 
average intelligence and the morale of the group is splendid. Most 
of the members are women. A high percentage of attendance is 
evidenced, although only one-third of the homes in the school dis 
trict are represented. Unfortunately, few of those attending par 
ticipate in the educational program. 

There would seem to be a need of more independent leadership. 
The school is at present too dominant a force. It has worked 
arduously, however, to promote the work of the Parent-Teacher 
Association. 

There has been little attention to study groups or separate meet 
ings organized to discuss special problems of education. What 
the Association needs is help from the State Congress in order to 



66 The Parent-Teacher Association 

better its organization and to select its activities. It must recog 
nize the necessity for planning its program, must then select its 
problem, and must finally arrange its activities in a unified program 
of work as suggested in Chapter VII. 

The interest of the Association is good and continuous. Friction 
is not a problem. There has been a definite attempt to publicize 
its program, but there is so little understanding of that program, 
of proposed aims and functions, and of related activities, that the 
publicity work although initially good cannot follow up with con 
structive material. The Association is hampered by lack of train 
ing facilities for leadership. An extensive Parent Study Group 
plan, assisted by the State Congress, is recommended to this group 
to increase its number Of leaders. The members usually remain 
in the Association as long as their children are in school. The 
Association is aggressive in the support of school policies and the 
promotion of activities which benefit the school. It keeps well 
within its province. It has brought about these desirable changes: 

1. More friendly teachers. 

2. Fewer complaints. 

3. Good publicity for the school. 

4. More educational equipment. 

5. Relief and safety education programs. 

6. Better social intercourse. 

It still faces the following problems: 

1. Need of understanding its own status. 

2. Recognizing that Parent Education should be the first concern of the 
Association. 

3. Selecting activities which fit the need of the community, such as Progres 
sive Education policies, Reading Habits of Children, Interpretation of School 
to Community. 

4. Need of exercising leadership independent of the school. 

5. Lack of unit program and the consolidation of activities under major 
problems. 

6. Training leadership. 

Association E 

The problems of this Association are sharply contrasted to those 
in the average public school. It is part of a progressive experi 
mental school and located in a very large city. Its membership 
is 700. The personnel is above the average in intelligence, interest, 
and leadership. Children are drawn mainly from professional 



Case Studies 67 

classes which include a preponderant number of educators and 
teachers. The percentage of attendance is 50 per cent. The 
percentage of homes represented is 50 per cent. Teachers are 
represented 100 per cent. This Association has the family 
membership plan, meaning that both parents are included in the 
membership upon payment of stipulated dues. Thus, the father's 
representation equals that of the mother. Six regular meetings are 
held each year, attended by a large proportion of the membership. 
Many special meetings are held to provide for the interests and 
needs of those concerned. The leadership of the school is excellent 
and well informed on modern educational theory and practice. 
Many leaders in this Association have been trained professionally. 
There is less than the usual friction between school and home. The 
action of the Association is characterized by independence of 
thought and no attempt is made to dictate the policies of the 
school. The Association is progressive and aggressive in support 
of child welfare. 

In order to make sure the Association would have clearly in mind 
the objectives of the Parent-Teacher Association and understand 
its true functions, the leadership initiated the Association after 
many discussions and meetings. Organization was not perfected 
until five years after the first proposal that a Parent-Teacher 
Association be organized in this school. An early view of its 
philosophy and policy may be seen in the following statement: 

If we organize a Parent-Teacher Association it could function as an edu 
cational medium for teachers and parents through an exchange of views both 
as to modern problems as they bear upon education, and specifically as to 
matters relating to the school itself. 

All this was done to educate the membership in regard to the 
potential power of the Association. These meetings were char 
acterized as ones calling for less immediate action but more careful 
study, leading to an understanding of the aims of the Association. 
Needs were studied, interests and activities classified. Eventually 
the Association was organized. 

Since many of its pupils come from various sections of a large 
city and some from other cities, it is not called upon to serve a 
particular community in the sense in which the average Parent- 
Teacher Association is forced to serve. It is, however, exerting an 
influence on the several communities by its program of parent 



68 The Parent-Teacher Association 

education and by its emphasis on units of study which have broad 
social significance. 

The Association tries to carry out its purposes by the use of a 
very complete plan of parent-study groups. Here the parents are 
homogeneously grouped according to interest and understanding. 
Such groups aim for close cooperation and understanding in every 
grade. "Grade Representatives" relieve teachers of the mechan 
ics of setting up these meetings but teachers are a part of the plan 
and program. Such groups are directed by a competent person 
who endeavors to " tie up " the subject matter of the various groups 
with the larger meetings. The excellent results of such studies 
should be made available to other groups outside of this organ 
ization. 

While the activities are mainly educational and groups are 
divided according to interests, there is much that can be done to 
unify and coordinate the program. Many of the activities, accumu 
lative in character, can be developed into larger and more helpful 
units. Discussion of fundamentals in education is attempted with 
good success. Much more could be done with the local press and 
by the use of bulletins, school news, and papers to build up a con 
structive publicity program along the lines suggested in Chapter 
IV. 

The Association is securing excellent returns for the investment 
it has made, because of a careful study of problems together with 
a persistent effort to plan a program to solve these problems. 

Outstanding Features of "E" Association 

1. Cumulative discussions of problems. 

2. Broad social aspect of work. 

3. Consideration of fundamental problems in education. 

4. Parent Education program by use of extensive study groups plan. 

5. Active interest of fathers (the large study group composed of fathers 
is unique). 

6. Parents grouped according to interests and needs to consider delimited 
problems. 

7. Financial support on the part of school and membership. 

8. Leadership personnel. 

9. Continued interest and cooperation, 

Recommendations 

I. Extension of study group plan and cumulative discussion of various 
topics to take the form of larger units of study. There should be a definite 
controlling theme set up as an objective toward which such groups with the 
proper direction can well make a contribution. 



Case Studies 69 

2. More parents should receive the benefit of the Association work. At 
tendance in study groups should be increased. 

3. Study plans of the Association should continue to interest the fathers. 
The experiment with this group should he made available to other Parent- 
Teacher Associations. 

4. There is need for a more definite "tie-up" between the component parts 
of the Association, such as committee work, study groups, and general meet- 
bags of the entire membership. 

5. Meetings of the entire group should be increased in number. 

Association F 

The Association in this residential town of about 25,000 popu 
lation is unique in the extent and the diversification of its activities. 
The personnel consists of a mixed group such as is usually found in 
a small city or a community, the population of which is for the 
most part American. Of the membership, which is about 100, 
only two per cent are men. Only one-third of the homes of the 
district are represented. 

Ten regular meetings are held each year. One child-study group 
meets several times a year. The number of activities carried on 
by the Association is too great to list. Many of these activities 
should be abandoned or consolidated and organized under the 
Unit-of-Work plan suggested in Chapter VII. The child-study 
group should be greatly extended to include a careful study of 
subjects and activities interesting to and within the comprehen 
sion of the group. 

Real parent education and an interpretation regarding the possi 
bilities of modern education are extremely necessary to this group 
and will be achieved easily through a planning of the work under 
the unit idea. It must be worked out cooperatively and the 
activities selected must conform to the interests, understanding, 
and satisfaction of the group. Such a plan, would also serve the 
purpose of discouraging the attendance of children at the regular 
Association meetings. 

The Association should devote some time to a consideration of 
the functions and purposes of the Parent-Teacher Association as 
listed in Chapter V. In the opinion of the writer, special emphasis 
should be placed on Objectives Nos. 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10. 

In the working of the organization some friction has been evi 
denced, but this is not now apparent. Instead we find good 
cooperative effort. The reaction of the community to the Associ- 



70 The Parent-Teacher Association 

ation is good. The 100 per cent teacher membership also indicates 
interest and cooperation on the part of the school. Although the 
committee organization is very complete, the large number of 
standing committees does not result in a high utilization of mem 
bership. The recommendations above with regard to study 
groups and unit programs will undoubtedly solve this difficulty- 
Further difficulties may be listed as follows: 

1. Lack of independence in thought and action. The Parent-Teacher As 
sociation officers lean on the leadership and policies of the school. 

2. Need of leaders trained in professional training courses. 

Desirable changes that have been brought about are: 

1. Better school equipment. 

2. Safety education. 

3. Health program and playground. 

4. More friendly teachers. 

5. Parents better informed regarding school procedure. 

There is still much to be done, however. Undoubtedly the 
efficiency and value of the group will be increased by an adoption 
of the Unit-of-Work program as suggested above. In addition, the 
following are also recommended for the Association: 

1. Extension of publicity program. 

2. Increased attendance. 

3. Reduction of turnover in membership. 

4. More initiative in effecting needed reforms, e.g. good school legislation, 
new education, teachers' salaries, etc. 

Association G 

Association G is located in a large city in which the Parent- 
Teacher Association is not popular and where, because the move 
ment is viewed with suspicion, few of the city's 75 schools have 
such organizations. The problems of this group are those of a large 
cosmopolitan group in a large city. The membership of 380 is 
according to family and thus about 50 per cent of the members are 
men. Teachers are 100 per cent in membership, and about one- 
third of the homes in the district are represented. Attendance is 
about 50 per cent. The personnel is above the average. Many Jew 
ish families are represented. Meetings occur regularly eight times 
a year and are supplemented by a number of child-study groups. 

In spite of the poor support given to the Parent-Teacher Associ 
ation in this city, this Association has an adequate knowledge of its 



Case Studies 71 

purposes and functions and is performing excellent if undirected 
work in Parent Education. The officers should, however, discuss 
with the members Objectives Nos. 3, 4, 9, 10, and 16 listed in Chapter 
V in order to improve and integrate the yearly program. Much 
more could be done to reduce the number of activities or to consoli 
date them under one major idea or unit. Directing the enthusiasm 
and energy of every member would result in a definition of the 
major problems of the group and a concerted drive toward the 
solution of that problem. 

Committee work is planned according to state suggestions. A 
unification of this work under the Unit-of-Work system would 
result in a greater understanding of desired ends, and would in 
crease the possibility of achieving those ends. The budget com 
mittee's plans need reorganization; for example, in order to make 
adequate provision for the educational activities which the group 
desires to pursue. The publicity set-up could be improved and 
extended along the lines suggested in Chapter IV. Leadership 
is good and is well supported. There is, however, need for training. 
The parents and the school evidence a fine aggressive attitude 
and do not allow politics to interfere with independent thought 
and action. Membership is fairly constant. The Association has 
achieved the following desirable changes: 

1. Increase in teachers' salaries. 

2. Better housing conditions for the school (the Association influenced the 
building of one school). 

3. Respect of the entire community toward the Association. 

4. Playgrounds. 

5. Health program, child hygiene program. 

6. Parent education plan. 

7. Child study groups. 

8. Fewer complaints. 

9. Better morale in the district. 

10. Better police protection. 

It still faces the following problems: 

1. Necessity for extending the work to affect more homes. 

2. Adoption of Unit program to meet the need for unification of activities. 

3. Necessity for training in leadership. 

4. Extension of publicity program. 

5. Participation of members at meetings and the promotion of organized 
discussion. 



72 The Parent-Teacher Association 

Association H 

This Association in a large city has an excellent personnel, all 
types of people comprising its membership. There are over 300 
family memberships, although few men participate in the activities 
to any great extent. All teachers of the school belong and about 
one-third of the homes are represented. Attendance at meetings is 
about 60 per cent. 

There are eight regular meetings and these are supplemented 
by many study groups. The subject matter and activities are 
largely educational with an emphasis on cultural programs. There 
is some evidence that a study of problems and needs has been 
made. This is due to well-trained leadership of parents, which 
is far above the average. The avenue which provides for these 
needs is the study group plan, directed by competent leaders. The 
Association is reaching out for information relative to the things 
which pertain to parent and child education. What is necessary 
now is a consideration in detail by the group of Objectives Nos. 
10, 11, and 16 as listed in Chapter V. There is indication of 
an intelligent conception of aims and purposes of Parent-Teacher 
Associations, but the activities which are carried on to attain these 
purposes although educational are neither directed nor integrated. 

The business of the group is conducted competently by the ex 
ecutive committee. Budget procedure is sound and educational 
planning has influenced its construction. Friction is not a prob 
lem. The school and home seem to be cooperative, and the morale 
is high. When child welfare is at stake, the Association is ag 
gressive in its support. It is also progressive in its outlook and 
is independent in thought and action. Publicity activities are 
neither extensive nor well considered. Desirable changes brought 
about by the Association include: 

1. Program for the study of Mental Hygiene. 

2. Closer articulation of school and home. 

3. Development of leadership. 

4. Health program. 

5. Effective study-group plan. 

There are, however, still facing the Association the following 
problems: 

1. Development of the men's interest in the work of the Parent-Teacher 
Association. 



Case Studies 73 

2. Further training in leadership. 

3. An adequate publicity set-up and a study of publicity problems as 
suggested in Chapter IV. 

4. An integration of program activities so that there is a closer coordination 
between functions and activities. This may be accomplished under the 
Unit-of-Work system outlined in Chapter VII. 

Association I 

This Association, located in a city of 24,000 population, is unique 
in its energetic attempt to include a number of activities, most of 
which, are educational and helpful to the school and community. 
Although much time is given to community problems, such as 
relief (because of economic conditions), use of leisure, and group 
cooperation in promoting educational activities, this does [not in 
terfere with a splendid Parent Education program, a major aim of 
the Association and one for which there is a budgetary allowance. 

There are 300 members, holding seven regular meetings a year. 
Various groups are represented in the personnel, and the percent 
age of attendance is 55 per cent. All, teachers are members. 
The percentage of father members is 16. The number of homes 
represented is nearly 50 per cent. Leadership in both the As 
sociation and the school is above the average, and though there is 
some attempt further to train leaders, this is hampered by lack 
of training facilities and opportunities. 

The Association might do well to discuss at length the objectives 
Nos. 3, 4, and 10, listed in Chapter V. When those aims are 
comprehended by the entire Association there would probably be 
some shifting of interest and energy relative to the activities con 
sidered. There is need in this group of a closer integration of the 
activities carried on. The excellent educational work done by 
the group would be more effective and could easily be blocked out, 
under a central idea or theme, to give a complete understanding 
of an idea or theme and its relation to a great number of allied 
interests which are at present considered independently. Such 
an integration of activities would give the membership a clear, 
convincing picture of its own problems and the methods and 
materials necessary to solve those problems. Committee work 
is well planned, and under the unit system the twelve study 
groups which consider educational problems could be organized 
to discuss concomitant problems or contribute to a more detailed 
study of the larger problems of the entire organization. 



74 The Parent-Teacher Association 

Not enough, work is done witii publicity although, a start has 
been made. The reaction of the press is favorable and the com 
munity thinks well of this group and gives them much support. 
Part of this favorable community attitude is undoubtedly ex 
plained by the fact that the Association keeps well within its lay 
function and does not try to dictate school or educational policies. 
The turnover in membership is not large. The Association is 
rated high by the State Congress of Parents and Teachers. It 
has achieved the following desirable changes: 

1. Health program in school, including nutrition work. 

2. Correction of physical defects of the pre-school child. 

3. Emergency relief . 

4. Playgrounds. 

5. Better use of leisure time on the part of parents and children. 

6. Better morale in school and community. 

7. Extension of music program. 

8. More interest in and support of schools. 

Special problems are: 

1. Small membership of men. 

2. Excessive number of activities. 

3. Lack of courses in the training of leadership. 

4. Lack of a complete publicity program. 

5. Getting more of the membership to work. 

6. Increasing representation of homes in district. 

7. Lack of a unified program. 

Association J 

This Association, located in a very large city, has a membership 
of about 300. Its personnel, through hard work and splendid 
cooperation and interest, have succeeded in bringing about many 
desirable changes in relation to general child welfare. Of the 
membership, 20 per cent are men but the percentage of teacher 
members is conspicuously low. The percentage of homes repre 
sented is about 33 per cent. Attendance is approximately 50 
per cent. Only about one-half of the membership is used in carry 
ing out program activities and Association plans. There are ten 
regular meetings in the year, as well as many special meetings in 
the form of study groups. 

Leadership is above the average. Some training is provided 
for leaders of special study groups. There is little or no friction 



Case Studies 75 

in any of the groups. Committee organization is well planned, 
most business procedure being carried on at executive meetings. 
The Association stays within its lay function and does not tres 
pass on the professional functions of the school. Little construc 
tive work has been done with publicity. Although activities are 
educational, there is a need of consolidation into a unified pro 
gram of parent education. The Association has studied its prob 
lems. It now needs to select those of major concern and direct 
its activities toward a solution of those problems. The budget 
policy is improving and an attempt is being made to include 
items for the advancement of an educational program. 

The officers are conversant with the true functions of the Parent- 
Teacher Association. It is now necessary that they spend more 
time in interpreting these to the members. Discussion and re 
port at group meetings of Objectives Nos. 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 as 
listed in Chapter V would be helpful. The desirable changes 
which the Association has produced are: 

1. A high type of education to understand the work of the school. 

2. Fewer complaints. 

3. More friendly teachers and parents. 

4. Better health conditions. 

5. A program of playgrounds and recreation. 

6. Boys clubs. 

It still faces the following problems: 

1. Poor interest on the part of the teachers, the excellent leadership in 
the school could be used to obtain greater cooperation on the part of the teach 
ers. 

2. Failure to extend its work to include more of its membership. 

3. Lack of a unified program and a consolidation of activities under one 
theme or unit. Such a program should be introduced only when a study of 
the Association's needs has been made. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

In general it may be said that the findings of this more intensive 
study of the work of the Parent-Teacher Association, as indicated 
in the reports on each of the Associations, A to J, as weU as by 
data in Table 4, bear out the findings of the more generalized 
study of one hundred Associations throughout the United States. 
Each Association keeps well within its lay function, but there 
is too wide a .range ^Lactivities. In the cases studied there 



76 The Parent-Teacher Association 

seems to be some recognition of the fact that the value of educa- 

the large_ 



_ 

noi^educational activities, but there was little attemjt_to do 
anything aboutltT" The situation is almost uniformly explainable 
by^Ehe lack "of information about scientific program planning. 
Only one organization showed an attempted unification of its 
program activities and it was not markedly successful. 

The major need of these ten Associations is consolidation of their 
activities and unification of their program in the manner de 
scribed in Chapter VII. This admission, however, only reveals 
a deeper need of the Par^t-T^^ 1 ^ Association! thai-log. 



Wghly trained leadership fromlts^own rants and^ ofj)ther_skUled 
counsellors especidlyJ^rainMAQ^fuMtjpri i** this field. It is im 
perative on the one hand that colleges and training schools under 
take to provide training for officers and committee chairmen of 
these Associations, and just as imperative on the other that the 
school system itself take the initiative hi securing the services 
of skillful individuals who would assume the responsibility of 
studying the family background of children and its relation to the 
child's work in school, and assist parents and teachers in the study 
of their problems. 4 The combination would inevitably bring 
about the unification of program and activities absolutely essential 
if the Parent-Teacher Association is to be really serviceable to 
parents and the schools. 

Most of the^AgsofjaijoTis flr^jreducing 



^ 

the schools IQJLIIQJIV^ 

The use of pub 



licity to secure community support for its programs has not been 
developed by any of the Associations. Study groups are a major 
activity butjthey fail toreach enough parents. The Associations 
should study carefully ^ the school adminis 

tration and Parent-Teacher Association as outlined in Chapter III. 
A real financial plan designed to affect all the activities of the As 
sociation is another vital necessity. 

4 Cf. Chapter I, page 15. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE UNIT OF WORK IN PROGRAM PLANNING FOR 
THE PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 



INCE it has been demonstrated in preceding chapters that the 
energies and interests of the local Associations are dispersed over 
a wide range of unrelated and undirected activity, this chapter 
is designed to suggest a method of unifying and integrating program 
work in the Parent-Teacher Association. It will be necessary first 
to show the underlying principles of a program of work for the 
Association; second, to show the futility and ineffectiveness of 
the present program found in the average Association; and, third, 
to recommend a plan for unifying the program under one general 
theme covering a certain period of time and based on carefully 
investigated needs of the community. 

Program making has not been sufficiently studied by Parent- 
Teacher Association leaders. Thejart of planning and preparing, 

anend^ 



jghichjnembers wi!Ll^^M^o__acguirejdeas, conceptions, and im- 
pi3i^njijLinde^ from most Parent- 

Teacher Association progt^o^_M. B. Mason 1 has this to say 

"regarding the preparation of a program: 

( A plan is a real thing. It comes before action, just as the conception and 
drawing of a house come before the building of it. Even with knowledge and 
enthusiasm the making of plans is the most difficult task that confronts the 
leader. It requires thought to make a plan and thinking is our hardest job. 
Knowledge of facts can be acquired by any one. Upon the leader's ability 
to think out a plan depends a large measure of success of his Association. ^ 

Such planning is undoubtedly indispensable to the successful 
Parent-Teacher Association. Yet good planning of work pre 
supposes that an effort has been made to determine the relation 
ship of its aims and purposes to its greatest problems. Real 
planning indicates the power to see the plans through. It in 
volves comprehension of purpose, location of problem, selection 

1 Mason f M. B. Parents and Teachers. Giirn and Company, New York, 1928. Page 244. 

77 



78 The Parent-Teacher Association 

of activities, and a consolidation of those activities under a series 
of worthwhile experiences. 

In studying the work of one hundred Associations, the writer 
found that the., most disturbing thing to both the administrator 
and the Parent-Teacher Association official was the organization 

ani*pr^^^tia n of IL^Wfcl?^ ancec '- P^jES 1 ? w ki c k no * O]Q ty 
would explain the worthy objects of tne Association but would 
really educate the members in the matters taken up for considera 
tion. Many Association presidents, who had a critical under 
standing of their work, traced their difficulties directly or indirectly 
to a faulty and ineffectual program set-up. The writer found 
that Association after Association, capable of performing an out 
standing piece of work under able leadership, lost sight of its major 
responsibility because the random activities selected unwisely by 
the Association and related only remotely to any one of the 
major functions failed to bring satisfaction to the members or 
to realize the real function of the Parent-Teacher Associ 
ation. 

It is possible to combinej^^mtrest with j>eraistent effort on 
the part of thejiLmabersjaM appreciable 
value to the membership or th<^comnmi^^ the 

interest J^>LJ^J^9^ Unity of purpose, 

idea, and activity is required for worth-while work. 

It was shown in Chapter V that parent_jedi^tio^|s coo&dd- 

e *4J^xJP^ ^ u " 

cationjtojbe ajuiicti^ the Association, and 

thaFthe development , _ of Jntelligent -pansotaj^offil A*? i~ J??y^?stajid- 
iQS siLP 1 ? J^oW^ms ^f ^^hildhpodLand _ j&ducation is an ofeiective 
tOTrar^whic& the A^sociatio^i shQidd be 

directed. Therefore, bearing jn mind the needs aad limitations of 
each ^ Asgodatioja^ leaders, committees, and 

grougs ? using_every available means, should work toward that 
objective. The leaders must be encouraged to identify and de- 
Emirtheir problems. They must be given the technique which 
will help them initiate and develop a program of work which is 
within the limits of the understanding of the group. And a plan 
must be developed to challenge the interest of the Association and 
to provide for its needs. 

The National Congress of Parents and Teachers defines "Pro 
gram" thus: 



Unit of Work in Program Planning 79 

Tlie annual program of a Parent-Teacher Association is its general plan of 
work to meet the needs of the home, the school, and the community as they 
relate to the welfare of the child. The object of the program is to enable mem 
bers of the Association to realize conditions or discover needs; to formulate 
plans to meet those needs; and to stimulate action which will produce the 
desired changes, 

Under this generalized definition, however, the Associations have 
put all those undirected activities which were considered in preced 
ing chapters. Failure to understand the importance of a good 
unified program has resulted in hit-or-miss planning. This faulty 
planning, lack of organization, and the absence of a good tech 
nique in devising programs result in a weakening of the contri 
bution which even desirable activities could make to the educa 
tion of the parents and their understanding of what they are 
trying to do. 

On page 80 is a typical program showing all the faults men 
tioned above. There is in it very little attempt to coordinate or 
consolidate the activities of the Association, and almost no recog 
nition of the fact that there is a goal toward which to work. 

Some of the better local Associations have added to their pro 
grams a detailed outline of subjects under discussion with ques 
tions to provoke thought and interest. The program on page 81, 
from Saginaw, Michigan, illustrates an evening's program. 
' This program is illustrative of a step in the right direction toward 
planned programs of directed activity. But it represents one 
example of this as contrasted with an array of inefficiency and un 
directed energy. 

Since there exists this general inefficiency, this undirected activ 
ity, a method of planning a Unit of Work with the purpose of 
eliminating uncoordinated programs foreign to the needs of the 
community is proposed for Parent-Teacher Associations. The Unit 
of Work Plan is familiar to educators and is already widely and 
successfully used in many schools throughout the United States. 2 
The application of this method to the Parent-Teacher Association 
is new but it seems to offer the best solution to its problems of 
program planning. 

It may be objected that such a comprehensive plan is not 

*Notably the schools of South Dakota, organized under the direction of Dr. Herbert B. 
Bruner of Teachers College, Columbia University, and the social studies work for grades 
seven, eight, and nine prepared by Dr. Harold Rugg. 



80 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



PROGRAM 



Tues., Sept. 29 Open Meeting 3:15 
Tues., Oct. 203:15 P.M. 

MEMBERSHIP RAIXY 

Discussions: 

"Why Be a Member of the P.T.A." 
"What Membership in the P.T.A. 
Should Mean." 

Refreshments. 



PARENT-TBACOBDSR ASSOCIATION 1930-1931 
Tues., December 15. 
Christmas Spirit: Carol Singing. 
Discussions by Mothers 

"The Best Gift for Boy or Girl." 
Speaker, subject, "Good Books." 
Book List. 



Tues., Jan. 18 3;00 P.M. 
Dental Hygiene 

Toothbrush Drill by School Children 
Supervisor of Dental Hygiene will 

discuss "Dental Hygiene." 
Regular Meeting. 



Tues., April 193:15 P.M. 
The Problem Child. 
Speaker, School Psychologist. 
Opportunity for questions. 
School work of grades 3, 4, 5 and 
special group will be exhibited. 



Tues., Feb. 163:15 P.M. 
Founders' Day. Speaker, Junior 

Supervisor of Adult Education. 
Candle Lighting Ceremony. 
Music. Refreshments. 

Tues., March 152:35 P.M. 
Seventh Grade Entertains P.T.A. 

Members to be guests of seventh 

grade class. 
School work of Grades 6 and 7 to be 

exhibited in the hall. 
Refreshments will be served. 



Tues., May 187:30 P.M. 

Fathers' Night. 

Business Meeting. 

Program by school children, 8:00 

P.M. Speaker, Principal; Subject, 

"School." 
The art work of grades 4 to 7 will be 

exhibited in the halls. 



Tues., June 73:15 P.M. 

Annual Meeting. 

Reports of Standing Committees and 

election of officers. 
School work of kindergarten and grades 

1 and 2 will be exhibited. 
Refreshments will be served. 



Pro- 



FrL, Nov. 20 Fathers' Night 

gram by School Children. 
Fathers are especially urged to attend. 

Speaker. 

SPECIAL EVENTS TO REMEMBER 

October 30, 1:30-4:30 o'clock Food Sale 
Week of November 9 Education Week. 
The school will issue invitations for parents to visit. 
Wednesday evening, March 24 P.T.A. Good Time 
(Party for Mothers and Fathers) 

suited to the needs of a voluntary organization with a shifting 
personnel, in which the participation of the majority of mem 
bers is usually limited to listening. The answer to this objec 
tion is that the use of this very plan does much to eliminate^ 



Unit of Work In Program Planning 81 

OCTOBER 15, 1931 

Topic: "How Children Differ Mentally and the Effect upon the Changing 

Drama of Behavior." 
Questions for thought and discussion 

1. If a child whom you had always considered bright began to be indifferent 
to his school work and to create trouble in the schoolroom, what are the 
things you would try to find out about him? 

2. What is being done in the schools of your community for: 

A. Subnormal children? 

B. Especially bright children? 

C. Children who have behavior difficulties? 

S. Mention some of the dangers of too great "freedom and independence 
in early childhood. 
Suggestions for further reading 

Arlitt, Ada H. The Child from One to Six. New York, McGraw Hill, 1930. 

Hollingworth, Harry L. Mental Growth and Decline. New York, Appleton, 

1927. 

Woodrow, Herbert L. Brightness and Dullness in Children. Philadelphia, 

Lippincott, 1923. 

these characteristics of the ordinary Association. This is not 
only theoretically but actually the case. The scheme has been 
used with outstanding results in Passaic, New Jersey, where 
it has reduced turnover in membership, and shifting attendance at 
meetings, and has drawn into participation in activities far more 
persons than under the previous type of program planning. 

It needs only a moment's reflection to see why this is the case. 
That parents want education has been established by the educa 
tional authorities to whom we have referred in these pages; that 
this desire for learning taps one of the deepest instinctive drives 
of human nature also goes without question. Meager nourishment 
in response to this need has so far been supplied by the Parent- 
Teacher Association, but despite the poverty of its educational 
program millions of parents have been only too eager to accept 
even these crumbs of knowledge. All that is here proposed is 
that a comprehensive plan be adopted which takes consciously 
into account the real desire of parents to enrich and expand both 
their information and their opportunities for using it. 

UNIT OF WORK PLAN 

I We may define the Unit of Work for the Parent-Teacher Asso- 
Iciation as the organization of a block of related material on any 



82 The Parent-Teacher Association 

topic or group of topics in such form that everything the Parent- 
Teacher Association does in developing its program contributes 
toward the understanding of a central idea and its relation to 
other concepts in the same or allied fields. The adaptation of 
such a plan to Parent-Teacher Association work will enable the 
members to see more clearly the purposes of the Association and 
to understand why certain subjects or ideas are developed in the 
course of their programs. 

The adoption of the Unit of Work as the program plan involves 
a high degree of thoroughness in the work of the Association. 
Clarity of purpose, concentration, cooperation must be exhibited 
by all members, leaders, groups, and committees. Committees 
on finance, membership, program, publicity, child welfare, and 
so forth, must harmonize their efforts into an integrated whole, 
and work toward one common purpose. Interest, leadership, 
hard work, and cooperative effort in unified activity should result 
in an educational experience for the membership which will in 
clude new information, changes in attitudes, a wider appreciation 
of the problems of public education, and more intelligent support 
for it. 

Chart I shows how various activities may be consolidated and 
unified to make one larger whole or unit. To make the unit 
complete, enough selected and properly organized activities should 
be included. In a unit of work of any kind, objectives, approaches, 
analysis of problems, local needs, points of view are indispensable. 

It must be remembered that the unit in itself when organized 
will accomplish little. Its effectiveness rests on the earnestness, 
industry, and intelligence of those who work in it. Properly or 
ganized and administered, the unit plan of work should be a valu 
able tool, whose intelligent use will enable local Associations to 
approach a realization of their true functions and purposes. 

Chart II gives a proposed graphic representation of the unit 
which is described in the succeeding pages. 

Every unit proposed for the Parent-Teacher Association must 
include a statement of the aims based on carefully thought-out 
needs. Care must be taken to see that all topics and activities 
selected are those which will be interesting to the parents. The 
unit must be outlined in detail and an analysis of all possible ap 
proaches included. There should also be a wide range of topics 
for discussion. 



Unit of Work in Program Planning 83 

The topics subjected to study and research either by experts 
or by capable parents or teachers should be presented to the 
Association with the highest degree of simplicity and clarity in 
order that all members may grasp the theme back of them, Im~ 



CHART I 

DIAGRAM OP PIAN OF WORK FOR PARENT-TEACHER 
ASSOCIATIONS 




RESULT OR OUTCOME 

APPRECIATION, ATTITUDE., SUPPORT 

KNOWLEDGE. 



The diagram presented here shows how the activities must he employed 
to carry out a unified program. Activities must be cumulative and consoli 
dated through the proper employment of Leadership, Objectives, Point of 
View, Local Need, Approach, Personnel, etc., to secure desired results. 

portant considerations in organizing the program for the Associa 
tion are: 

1. How are the topics for consideration to be selected? 

2. Are they interesting to the membership? Will a discussion 
of such topics benefit the membership? 



84 The Parent-Teacher Association 



CHART II 
GRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION OP IMPORTANT STEPS IN ORGANIZING A UNIT 



Heeds Leading to Selection 

of Unit or Topic 



Unit or Topic 



Aims 



Point of View 



Present-day Problems 



Approaches 



Activities and Procedure 



Swaluation of Unit 



Result-Goals or Outcomes 



Personnel-Working in Unit 



References 
Bibliography 
J&tertals 



Unit of Work in Program Planning 85 

3. Are they within the understanding of the group and adapt 
able to their needs? 

4. Does the presentation of program appeal to the group? 

5. Does the group considering the program represent various 
points of view? 

6. Are the topics of practical application? 

7. Are the topics intrinsically worth while and significant? 

8. What topics or subjects should be considered at separate 
group meetings? 

Facts, incidents, knowledge, information, experience, opinions, 
illustrations, and interpretations must all be a part of the pre 
liminary report before an Association can safely select the unit 
which is to occupy its attention for a period of time. 

All the above items must be considered in selecting the unit 
about which the Association is to center its activities. The task 
of preparing a definite unit of work is one of great importance. 
Any unit extending over a period of time and utilizing the personnel 
of an Association, its interests, energies, and leadership, can justify 
its existence only in terms of concrete results. The problems of 
the community, if not immediately obvious to the membership, 
must be identified by research and study and catalogued in order 
of importance. From this list the problem which represents the 
most urgent need of the community should be selected as the 
subject of immediate attack. 

Directing all its energies, activities, and interests toward the 
solution of a specific problem, the Association should use every 
means to settle the difficulty at hand. 

Some units which may be valuable are suggested in the follow 
ing list: 

1. The wise use of children's leisure time. 

2. Systematic health training. 

3. Character training. 

4. Worthy home membership. 

5. Study habits of children. 

6. Fitting the child for an occupation. 

7. Reading habits. 

8. How children learn. 

9. How good citizenship is acquired. 

10. Fads and frills in education. 

11. The machine age and the school. 



86 The Parent-Teacher Association 

12. Homework. 

13. Study of parents* attitude toward sex problems of childhood. 

14. Education in relation to vocational problems. 

15. New methods in discipline. 

16. The extra-curricular activities. 

17. Educational and vocational guidance. 

18. The cost of public school education. 

Around any one of these suggested units may be constructed a 
course of activity and study to hold the attention of the Parent- 
Teacher Association for any specified length of time. A working 
outline of a unit of work as carried on by the Woodrow Wilson 
Parent-Teacher Association in Passaic, New Jersey, is included 
here. This will serve as an illustration of the method of using 
this system better than any theoretical description. 

UNIT OF WORK AS CARRIED OUT IN THE WOODROW WILSON 
SCHOOL PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION PASSAIC, NEW 

JERSEY 

"WHAT Is BEING DONE FOR CHILDREN TO-DAY IN THE MODERN SCHOOLS" 
(A Unit of Parent Education) 

Time Ten months. 

NEED OP PROBLEM 

Why was unit selected? Parents were indifferent to general attack on 
education. In many directions new educational theory was questioned, 
many were willing to turn back the progress made in education. Retrench 
ment at all costs seemed to be the byword. Many held schools responsible 
for the educational ills of civilization and present economic and social life. 
Lack of interest and understanding in school activity and school problems was 
evident. 

GENERAL OBJECTIVE FOR UNIT OF WORK 

1. To show what the modern school is doing and why. 

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES 

1. To understand the general aims of education. 

2. To appreciate the changes in civilization and how the school is meeting 
these changes. 

3. To appreciate the importance of such types of educational service as 
vocational education, the fine arts, and their relation to life and the formal 
subjects of the curriculum. 

4. To learn of the claims and results of the progressive schools, to know 
what experimental schools are doing; how such methods may be adapted to 
the public school. 



Unit of Work in Program Planning 87 

5. To appreciate the need of schools; education as an Investment, to safe 
guard our civilization. 

POINT OF VIEW 

Life changes. Therefore business, industry and the schools must change. 
A new school with new courses of study, up-to-date methods* must be em 
ployed to meet these changes in life. A complex society including a dis 
integrated family life as well as the technical machine age has thrust upon 
the school many new problems. What is the modern school doing to justify 
its existence in the light of added responsibilities? 

PRESENT PROBLEMS 

1. Lack of school support in its various activities. 

2. Reduction in school appropriations. 

3. Failure of men to participate in Parent-Teacher Association work. 

4. Large number of foreign-born parents. 

5. Lack of knowledge regarding the traditions and ideals of America. 

6. Lack of initiative to interest themselves in school problems, such as 
financial support or curricula. 

7. Ignorance of school procedure. 

POSSIBLE APPROACHES 

1. Discuss changing civilization necessitating a changing school. 

2. Study what pupils do when they leave school. 

3. Discuss the value of the right kind of education; what the school can 
do about it. 

4. Consider the effects of the machine age. 

5. Discuss education as an investment. 

6. Discuss the curriculum of the school. 

ACTIVITIES TO BE USED 
ORIENTATION DRAMATIZATION OBSERVATION GROUP DISCUSSION 

Orientation Activities 

MARCH 

1. Talk by principal on the aims of education "Which Way Is Education 
Headed?" 

2. Talk by President of the Board of Education "Administering the 
Modern School." 

Dramatization Activities 

APRIL 

1. Discussion of the aims of education by lay leader and supervisor in 
public schools. Topics to be discussed are: 

a) Definition of education. 

b) Aims past and present. 

c) Present-day curricula The New School. 



88 The Parent-Teacher Association 

d) Educational results. 

e) Snpervision. 

/) Financial support. 

g) School control The Pupil's Responsibility. 

A) Lectures by superintendent of schools and community leader 
"Education as an Investment"; "A Community Without Schools." 

Observation Activities 

MAY 

1. Demonstration of classroom recitation points to be covered: 
a) Method of presentation. 
6) Subject matter selected, 
c) R61e of the teacher, 
c?) Management and organization. 
e) Practical application. 



Subject School Cpntrol; Pupils Learn by Doing. Reports by pupils on: 
a) Self Government. 
6) Clubs. 

c) School Papers. 

d) Classroom Procedure. 

e) Athletics and Games. 
/) Safety Education. 



A committee should be delegated to visit a progressive experimental school 
and report its observations to the general meeting of the Association. 



Visit to school by parents under supervision of principal. (Note: This 
visit is to give parents a perspective of the work of the school but it is not to 
include a study of classroom method, which is a professional function). 



The Fine Arts: Exhibit, Explanation and Lecture. Correlation with other 
subjects. 

JANUARY 

1. Guidance. 

2. Vocational courses. 

3. Preparation for life work. 

4. Fitting courses to the needs of pupils. 

FEBRUARY 

Education as an investment. Debate: superintendent of schools and lay 
leader. 



Unit of Work in Program. Planning 89 

MARCH 

Summary and Conclusions of Unit. Report by committee made up of 
representatives of the various groups. 

EVALUATION RESULTS OR OUTCOMES 

1. Does the unit suggest problems for further study which can be dis 
cussed at the meetings of various study groups? 

2. Is there more interest in the Association? 

3. Is there more interest in education and the schools? 

4. Is there a better attendance? 

5. Is there more social intercourse, more friendly relations? 

6. Has there been more opportunity for leadership? 

7. Are more members participating in Association work? 

8. Are there more men in attendance? 

9. Is there more community support of schools? 

10. Has the membership acquired important information? 

11. Is there a better attitude toward and appreciation of modern education? 

PERSONNEL PARTICIPATING IN THE UNIT 

1. Parent-Teacher Association membership 

a) President and committees. 

b) State Congress representative. 

2. School principal 

a) Staff of teachers. 

6) Clerical force to assemble important conclusions. 

c) Pupils. 

3. Special lecturers 

a) Educational experts within and out of school system. 
6) Lay leadership. 

4. Board of Education group 

a) Superintendent of schools. 
6) President of the board. 

MATERIALS TO BE USED 

1. Reports of the Progressive Education Association* 

2. Reports of Lincoln School, New York City. 

3. Middletown, Lynds. 

4. Changing Civilization, Kilpatrick. 

5. National Education Association Reports. 

6. Local course of study of public school. 

7. Schools of Tomorrow, Dewey. 

8. The Great Technology, Rugg. 

The following is suggested by the author as another possible 
type of unit and the way in which it might be worked out. It is 



90 The Parent-Teacher Association 

valuable, of course, only as an example. It is necessary for each 
Association to decide on its own unit and the methods of working 
out its program. 

ACQUAINTING THE PARENT WITH THE WORK OF 

THE NEW SCHOOL 
(A UNIT OF PARENT EDUCATION) 

THE CONTROLLING THEME 

The development of a new school to meet a changing social order. The 
chief aim of this unit of work is to assist parents in an understanding of the 
changes which have heen made in the school curriculum to meet the demands 
of our changing social order. It would result in giving them a dynamic con 
cept of education, in the light of which the futility of the methods of the old 
school when applied to changed conditions in modern society would be ap 
parent, and the existence of new content, organization, and procedure in the 
new school understood. 

AIMS 

A. To help parents understand the concept of social change. 

B. To help parents realize the social situation of to-day, economically, politi 
cally, and socially. This would embrace an understanding of the changing 
function of the family. 

C. To show how the present social situation affects education: 1 

1. The problems it raises for the modern school. 

2. The expansion of curriculum that results from an attempt to meet these 
problems. 

3. The necessity for a new type of training for teachers. 

4. The dependence of the new school on community faith and support. 

POINT OF VIEW 

Formerly education was concerned with smaller and more restricted groups. 
Pupils of ability were taken care of in restricted fields while the untrained 
majority were sent into society to do what they could. For those in the 
schools there was very little need of differentiation in subject matter because 
specialization was not practiced to any great extent. Pupils who could not 
adapt themselves to a regular course of study were dropped as failures and 
they made for themselves uncertain places in society. The machine age, the 
growth of the factory system, the division of labor, and the consequent em 
phasis on specialization have made the schools aware of a new social order 
and forced them to meet these changes in society by compensating changes 
in the school system, by differentiating their courses, by changing their cur 
ricula, and by adding prevocational and vocational courses. In addition, 
they have made provision for guidance, appreciation, and experience courses, 
teaching the wise use of leisure time. The responsibility now thrust upon 

1 This would involve developing some comprehension of the philosophy, methods, curriculum 
and organization of the old school. 



Unit of Work in Program Planning 91 

the schools by church, home, and society in general has resulted in these 
very necessary changes in curricula. 

It is necessary, therefore, that the parent understand the organization, 
problems, and plans of the new school. A discussion of the problems suggested 
below will help the parents toward this understanding and will at the same 
time show them their place in the educational Me of the child under these 
new conditions. Problems suggested will, of course, reflect specific com 
munity needs and should therefore originate with the members of the Parent- 
Teacher Association themselves. 

PRESENT-DAY PROBLEMS 

1. Persistent reverence for the Three R's ultra-conservatism. 

2. Indifference of public to function of the school. 

3. Inability to recognize real teaching. 

4. Failure on the part of some people to appreciate the new and special 
functions of the school. 

5. Low salaries for teachers; mismanagement of government tax levies. 

6. Ignorance of the public as to school methods. 

7. Failure of the administrator properly to use and work with community 
leadership. 

8. The changing function of the family and family relationships. 

9. Improper use of leisure time. 

10. Pernicious effect of tabloid, movie, etc. 

11. Technological processes and effect on school and community. 

12. Proper school support. 

13. Misfits in society. 

APPROACH 

Having now selected the unit, having decided upon the aims and points of 
view, having also decided upon the specific problems which relate to the 
particular Association, the unit may be organized. Associations should be 
extremely careful about the manner of this organization. The approach de 
termines the success or failure of the unit. An initial discussion to challenge 
the interest of the parent and to show how the subjects to be considered are 
related to the life of the member is pertinent. It is imperative that the ap 
proach be adapted to a particular community and considered in the light of 
the parents' comprehension and experience. A right approach will make the 
parents work for their Association, will stimulate interest in the activity under 
the unit plan, and will produce the best final results of the work. 

Approaches may be selected from the following questions which should 
stimulate the interest of the parents and help them in determining which ap 
proach or approaches they should select to begin a study of their problems. 

1. Why do pupils fail? 

2. What do pupils do when they leave school? 

3. What would a community be without a school? 

4. Compare white collar jobs with the trades. Why are they both neces 
sary? 



92 The Parent-Teacher Association 

5. Discuss what made the schools change their plans. 

6. At what age do most pupils leave school? 

7. How is education related to success in life? 

8. What increasing family problems have you noticed? 

9. What has technology to do with modern schools? 

10. What are the uses of experiences in a child's life? 

11. What value education? 

12. What are educational costs? Explain increases. 



ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES 

According to Hopkins 3 there are nine different kinds of activities which may 
be used in carrying through the unit of work. In this particular unit, five 
are employed. Whatever type of activity is adopted, care must be exercised 
to see that the activities bring into play the big and vital ideas which one 
wishes the parents to secure from the unit. Other points to remember in 
selecting activities are: 

1. Will the activities help to attain established objectives for the unit? 

2. Are they of interest to parents? 

3. Will they help carry out the aims of the Association? 

4. Should they control the program of the Association? 

5. Will they provide experiences to gain better understanding of the unit 
or topics to be considered? 

6. Will they help parents secure proper concepts of the idea which is being 
developed in the unit? 

7. Will they help parents to: 

a) Achieve the purposes of the Association? 

b) Attack problems independently? 

c) Interest more members? 

d) Help discover needs and solve problems. 

e) Secure greater cooperation? 

/) Increase the prestige of the Association by the effectiveness of its 
work? 

A. Group Discussion Activities 

1. Discuss the aims of education. Define education. 

2. Have a speaker talk on "The New Versus the Old School." Have an 
exhibit of school work. 

3. Discussion on education for worthy home membership. How family 
ties have broken. New problems of the school. 

4. What industry demands of the new school. Industrial and vocational 
schools, 

5. The use of leisure and the new school. The five-day week. 

6. Economic demands. Costs of education. Education as an investment. 

"The nine types are: 1. Orienting, 2. Building, 3. Research, 4. Group Discussion, 5. Crea 
tive Activities, 6. Appreciative, 7. Experimental, 8. Drill and Practice, 9. Culminating. 
Hopkins, L. Thomas. Educational Method. Vol. XI, October, 1931. Page 7. 



Unit of Work in Program Planning 93 

B. Observation Activities 

1. Teacher and class demonstration of courses of study. 

2. Visits to experimental schools. 

3. Exhibits of school work. 

4. Special activities in classroom. 

C. Research Activities 

1. Study of needs by the membership. 

2. Study of new educational methods by a committee. 

3. Report of such committees. 

4. Report of research activities as carried on by National or State Congress. 

D. Orientation Activities 

1. Report on the study of Association needs. 

2. Acquaintance with the problem discussion. 

3. Committee report on possible attack or approach. 

E. Evaluation of Test of Unit 

1. Is there an increase in attendance? 

2. Knowledge and interpretation of the school. 

3. Higher family standards. 

4. Does it facilitate acquaintance of teachers and parents? 

5. Cooperation in membership; in working out plans, 

6. Do outcomes attained satisfy needs? Are felt needs satisfied? 

7. Larger membership. 

8. Greater faith in education and school by parents. 

9. Objectives set up and realized. 

10. Member participation in Parent-Teacher Association work. 

11. Greater sense of responsibility toward child training. 

12. Knowledge of technique and devices used by schools. 

MATERIALS TO BE USED 

1. Reports of Bicentennial Conference on Parent Education. 

2. Parent Education National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Hand 
book. 

3. Reports of Lincoln School, New York City. 

4. Books on modern education: 

a) Changing Civilization, Kilpatrick. 

b) Child-Centered School, Rugg and Shumaker. 

c) Middktown, Lynd. 

d) American Road to Culture, Counts. 

e) The Great Technology, Rugg. 

5. Courses of study: 

a) Rugg's Social Studies Course. 

6) Lincoln School Units of Work. 

c) California State Plan of Parent Education. 

d} Plan of New College, Teafchers College, Columbia University. 

e) National Education Association reports, etc. 

/) Progressive Education Magazine, Washington, D. C. 



94 The Parent-Teacher Association 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

The program of the local Parent-Teacher Association determines 
the social significance of the organization, its attendance, and its 
membership. Since this is so, the program is deserving of more 
serious consideration than has been given to it in the past. That 
the present method of program-making is demonstrably unsatis- 
jfactory has been shown in the study of Association activity and , 
(results obtained and by the testimony of over one hundred ASSOCH 
ation presidents who experience difficulty in program-planning. 
The average program is formal and stereotyped, consisting of a 
number of unplanned and unrelated activities, whereas it should 
be conceived as an organized plan including the proper activities 
to meet the demands of the home, school, and community as well 
as to further the proposed functions and purposes of the organ 
ization. 

It is in this connection that the unit of work system, now widely 
and successfully utilized in the schools of the United States, offers 
a solution to the problem of program-planning in the Parent- 
Teacher Association. 

There is every reason to believe that the local Associations will 
improve their efficiency and increase their value to the community 
if they embark upon the plan suggested in this chapter. Their 
work will be more effective when they have analyzed and studied 
local needs and approached specific problems under the unit of 
work system. Such a unit will use all the energies of the member 
ship in a concerted drive toward an accepted and definite objective. 
Its success depends in a large measure upon the setting up of the 
necessary objective, the adoption of a correct point of view, the 
right approach, and a careful selection of directed educational 
activities. 

An experimental use of the unit of work system during the past 
year by the Parent-Teacher Association of the Woodrow Wilson 
School in Passaic, New Jersey, has resulted in a marked increase 
in the activity and efficiency of that group. 



CHAPTER VIII 
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 



s 



'INGE its tentative beginnings as early as 1855, in the mothers* 
clubs and reading circles that grew up in connection with the first 
kindergartens, the movement for Parent-Teacher Association in 
all types of schools has grown until it has assumed an importance 
which makes it a factor to be reckoned with in a general con 
sideration of educational policies in the United States. We find 
the Parent-Teacher Association diffused throughout the entire 
country, with an official national organization which alone numbers 
1,511,203 individual members, while many other thousands of 
parents belong to independent organizations which carry on similar 
work but are not affiliated with the National Congress. 

At its inception, the Mothers' Club was designed primarily to 
help its members learn more about the nature and nurture of the 
child; but as such organizations multiplied and spread into the 
elementary and high schools and as social conditions changed, for 
women especially, this primary purpose was lost sight of in the 
pressure of other interests of a more active kind. The diffusion 
of interests was such as to amount to a virtual abandonment of the 
principles of the founders, although these were still acknowledged 
and remained a latent force in the organization. The official 
national organization, the National Congress of Parents and Teach 
ers, founded in 1897, did very little to check this diffusion of 
interests, and while working for extension of the Parent-Teacher 
movement did not formulate a constructive and unified program 
for its members which would have assisted and guided them to 
realize the potentialities inherent in the original conception. 
Consequently, the Association has not to this day fully developed 
its possibilities as a social force. 

Meanwhile, however, the educators, who, on the whole, had been 
indifferent or hostile toward the Parent-Teacher Association, have 
under the influence of modern educational theory come to view it 
in a new light. Many of the most forward-looking among them 

95 



96 The Parent-Teacher Association 

now regard it as a medium for the parent education which is vital 
to the success of the modern school. And many leaders of the 
Parent-Teacher Association are also realizing that this program of 
parent education represents the most fruitful contribution which 
the Association can make to the welfare of the child. As yet, 
however, there is no widespread reflection of these opinions of the 
educators and leaders in the work carried on by the rank and file of 
local Associations. Nor is there any concerted propaganda to 
bring about a re-orientation of program and activities which shall 
unify theory and lagging practice. 

There would, therefore, seem to be necessary at this point a 
re-statement of principles and purposes in order that the aims of 
the organization might be achieved and its activities directed 
toward definite accomplishment. Furthermore, a relationship be 
tween school administration and Parent-Teacher Association needs 
to be established which will enable parents to be admitted to a 
legitimate participation in the educational process on one hand 
while on the other the school authorities can maintain their expert 
status. v.Only by a directed attemptj,o achieve this end can the 
Parent-Teacher Association justify its existence, its program, 
organization, and cost of maintenance. 

As an existing organization within the limits of which much 
might be accomplished, the Parent-Teacher Association has a great 
potentiality of service. That its activities have unfortunately 
been misdirected to a very great extenFmjpair^ the iirmediate 
value of its .worKJbut does not impair the potential value, 

^Any^fudy, such as this dnelina^taken By^Eeliuthor, will in 
evitably reveal to the impartial observer serious but remediable 
defects. Since this is true, the author here presents a list of specific 
recommendations by which the efficiency and value of the Parent- 
Teacher Association work may be increased. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

1 Undoubtedly the most serious single factor which has militated 
against the success of the Parent-Teacher Association has been its 



pose and funct^^JkeO^ 

r ealizeL their Joh .andjanderstand their jdutifisjto.tibfe^|ld 
and to the community. Too often entertainments, social inter- 



Summary, Conclusions, Recommendations 97 

course^aod unrelated, program activities have comprised the plan 
of work outlined by the local . Associations to the virtual exclusion 
of worthwhile j^TOatfo^ There would, 

therefore, seem to be a discrepancy between the theoretical under 
standing of purposes and the activities in which the Associations 
are actually engaged. The primary recommendations are, there 
fore: 

I. That a direct relationship be established between the activi 
ties and the theoretical understanding of functions and admitted 
purposes of the Parent-Teacher Association. Since 20,000 units 
affiliated with the National Congress look to it for leadership in 
defining purpose and suggesting activities, and since its prestige 
among these groups is great, the following suggestions are made 
with respect to the National Congress: 

A. That the National Congresajom with educators in an effort 
^k<!jdarif^^ 

to its member Assoc^ 

wh^^ a 

coicj^^jeorgsyQizatiQnjDf tlieir^pmgmms. This would necessitate 
the abandonment of all unrelated interests and a clear recognition 
that the purpose of the movement can never be realized through a 
program of random activities with only a tenuous relation to func 
tion. 

B. That the National Congress, in presenting such an outline 
of functions and activities, provide for sufficient elasticity and 
flexibility of program to permit local Associations to care for their 
own particular problems. 

C. That the National^ongres^rggmi&-loca1 unite to make 
Jthejn^^ 

gram of parent education. Thus, standards for admission to the 
TSlHionaT Congress should include a carefully organized plan of 
program activity which shows an understanding of proposed aims 
and functions and relates activities to these. 

IL That an authoritative educational body (such as the 
Department of Superintendence of the National Education Associ 
ation) appoint a committee to analyze and define the strictly pro 
fessional aspects of educational practice which it regards as the 
special province of the school and to study further the relationship 
which should exist between the administrative authorities and the 
Parent-Teacher Association. This should also include the specific 



98 The Parent-Teacher Association 

functions which concern both groups and which show the mutual 
interdependence of the two groups. The deliberations and recom 
mendations of this committee should be widely circulated among 
educators to serve the purpose of clarifying much of the confusion 
which now exists on these two points. It is suggested in connection 
with this recommendation that representatives of parents' associ 
ations be given an opportunity to sit with the committee. 

III. That such authoritative agencies as the various uni 
versities and teachers colleges take the initiative in providing for 
the careful training of leaders by means of institutes and definite 
courses, both credit and non-credit. The National Congress could 
be asked to cooperate with these institutions. The research and 
study of these trained leaders will help the local units to consolidate 
their activities and move forward with a carefully planned and 
unified program. 

IV. That further experimentation with the unit of work 
system described in this study as a method of program planning be 
carried on* Under this system an Association must determine 
what, in respect to general aims and purposes, are its greatest 
problems. It must then select activities relating to these problems 
which shall engage the interest and activity of the entire Associ 
ation over a specified length of time. In this way the program 
may be consolidated into a series of worthwhile experiences under 
a central idea or "unit." 

V. That Associations continue to be self-supporting. This 
should not, however, prevent the local educational system from 
assisting the work of the Parent-Teacher Association in any way 
possible, once the policy of self-support has been established. 

VI. That the Associations be given definite status in the 
boards of education by-laws, which should define their rights. 
This is required for stability and prestige. The Associations should 
remain independent, organized voluntarily by interested parents, 
and should exercise no legal control over the schools. 

VII. That an efficient publicity program be set up under the 
direction of leaders trained by state associations or other central 
ized agencies responsible for general organization and adminis 
tration, and that these give considerable time to a study of more 
efficient means of arousing the interest of the public and the mem 
bers. 

VIII. That the Associations take a definite stand in helping to 



Summary, Conclusions, Recommendations 99 

solve educational problems. They must acquire social power not 
only by discussing the fundamental factors in education but by 
taking appropriate action when the education of the child is at 
state. Giving of constructive help when school budgets are 
slashed and effective protest against political interference with the 
schools are two examples of opportunities for action open to them 
which are definitely related to their primary objective. 

IX. That Associations take as their goal a representative 
membership from the community, large and broad enough to typify 
the thinking and philosophy of the particular locality and to insure 
that representative policies and procedures receive the approval 
and sanction of the district. 

X. That the Parent-Teacher Association refrain from mak 
ing decisions in those provinces which are highly professional and 
therefore strictly belong to the school. This does not mean that 
the Association should not familiarize itself with the work and 
philosophy of the school. 

XI. That school administrators recognize their responsibility 
in educating parents in regard to the school's work and procedure. 
Not until the educator with zeal and interest is willing to guide 
parents into channels of proper activity and to interpret to them 
modern education will the Parent-Teacher Association accomplish 
the purposes for which it is organized. 

XII. That the teaching force of the school recognize its re 
sponsibility to contribute actively in every way possible toward 
the furtherance of the aims of the Parent-Teacher Association. 

XIII. That wider use be made of the device of planning the 
business procedure of the meeting through the executive com 
mittee. Business and entertainment features should besubordi- 
nated to the educationaTparLof the meeting. 

XIV. That wider use be made of the device of organizing study 
groups within the Parent-Teacher Association to pursue intensive 
study, under the direction of competent authorities, of problems 
based on the needs and interests of these smaller groups. 

XV. That all financial and business transactions of the Associ 
ations be based on a sound accounting procedure. 

XVI. That the Parent-Teacher Associations and parents' 
associations operating independently of the National Congress be 
subjected to careful study in the very near future. These are so 
numerous and present so many opportunities for local experi- 



100 The Parent-Teacher Association 

mentation that they would undoubtedly yield much valuable 
information. For example, the United Parents Association of 
New York City has made a unique and invaluable contribution to 
the whole movement both in analyzing aims, functions, and pur 
poses, and in devising new methods of organization and community 
cooperation. 

XVII. That the turnover of membership be studied further. 
This problem has not received adequate attention. Careful study 
of it should yield information regarding the stability of these local 
units and the extent of the influence they actually exercise. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY* 

BUTTERWORTH, J. E. The Parent-Teacher Association and Its Work. New 
York, Macmillan Company, 1928. 

*Note: Appendix C of this book by Dr. Butterworth (pp. 137-41) includes a list of selected 
unannotated references which consider the work of the Parent-Teacher Association and various 
aspects of education particularly useful to parents and teachers. 

From the date of this bibliography materials and references which have to 
do with the work of the Parent-Teacher Association may be found in the 
following sources: 

1. Education Index. A cumulative author and subject index to a selected 

list of educational periodicals, books, and pamphlets. H. W. Wilson 
Co., New York. 

2. United States Office of Education, Department of the Interior, Washing 

ton, D. C. Gives out data regarding literature developed in Parent- 
Teacher Association work. 

3. National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 1201 Sixteenth Street, N. 

W., Washington, D. C. Prepares periodically a list of books helpful 
to the parent and teacher. 

In gathering material for this study reference was made to the following books, 
reports, and magazine articles; 

THE WORK OF THE PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 

BUTTERWORTH, JULIAN E. The Parent-Teacher Association. New York, 

Macmillan Company, 1928. 
GOLDEN, MRS. EMMA. Study of Parent-Teacher Associations in North Dakota. 

University of Minnesota, 1928. 
INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OP EDUCATION. Cooperation of School and Home. 

Geneva. Rue des Maraichers 44, Geneva, Switzerland, 1929. 
MASON, MARTHA SPRAGUE. Parents and Teachers. New York, Ginn and 

Company, 1928. 
MCANDREW, WILLIAM M. "Parent Teachers Getting Formidable." School 

and Society, Vol. 29, June 1929, pp. 712-22. 
METTEN, J. A. Survey of the Work of Local Parent-Teacher Associations of 

Ohio During the School Year 1928-1929. Ohio State University (M. A. 

Thesis), 1930. 

MOEHLMANN, A. B. "Defining Rights and Duties of Parent-Teacher Asso 
ciations. Nation's Schools, Vol. 7, June 1931, pp. 55-59. 
NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS. Handbook. Washington, 

D.C., 1931. 
NATIONAL CONGRESS OP PARENTS AND TEACHERS. Proceedings for 1928- 

1932. Washington, D. C., 1932. 

101 



102 The Parent-Teacher Association 

NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS. Through the Years. 

Washington, D. G., 1930. 
"New Force in Education." Proceedings of Conference Held at Teachers 

CoEege under auspices of National Congress of Parents and Teachers and 

Teachers College, December 5th and 6th, 1929. 

REEVE, MARGARET W., AND LOMBARD, ELLEN G. The Parent-Teacher As 
sociations, 1924-1926. Bulletin, U. S. Bureau of Education, 1927. No. II. 
REEVE, M. W. "Countries in All Parts of the World Are Cooperating to 

Bring Together Home and School." School Life, Vol. 15, No. 5, November 

1929. 
ROGERS, MARIA L. A Contribution to the Theory and Practice of Parents and 

Teachers. New York, United Parents Association, 1931. 
State School Improvement Associations. Rural School Pamphlet No. 42, 

U. S. Bureau of Education, Washington, D. G., 1927. 
WATKINS, FLORENCE V. "Courses in Parent-Teacher Association Work." 

School and Society, Vol. 9, May 11, 1929, pp. 599-602. 

MATERIALS ON VARIOUS ASPECTS OF EDUCATION WHICH 

ARE PARTICULARLY USEFUL TO PARENTS AND TEACHERS 

INTERESTED IN PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION WORK 

BRUNER, H, B. South Dakota Course of Study. Department of Instruction, 

Department of Curriculum Revision, Pierre, South Dakota, 1930. 
FARLEY, BELMONT. What to Tell the Public About Our Schools. Bureau of 

Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, 1929. 
HOPKINS, L. T. " Creative Education." Educational Method, Vol. 9, October 

1931, pp. 1-8. 
HART, JOSEPH K. Adult Education. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 

1927. 
LINDEMAN, E. G. "Sociological Aspects of Parent Education." Journal of 

Educational Sociology, Vol. 5, April 1932, pp. 500-07. 
MOEHLMANN, A. B. Public School Relations. New York, Rand McNally 

Company, 1928. 
NEWLON, JESSE H. Paper on "Parent Education," presented at Biennial 

Conference of National Council of Parent Education. Washington, D. G., 

November 1930. 
REYNOLDS, ROLLO G. Newspaper Publicity for the Public Scfiools. New York, 

A. G. Seiler, 1922. 



APPENDIX 

Tables and Charts 

Outline, Rating Scale, and Questionnaire 



TABLE A 

NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS AS REPORTED 

FROM THE STATE OFFICES OF BRANCHES OF THE NATIONAL, 

CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS IN 1932 

(No Data from States Not lasted) 



Maryland 

Alabama 

Georgia 

Vermont 

Arkansas 

Illinois 

Iowa 

Louisiana 

South Dakota 

Oklahoma 

Virginia 



393 
350 
250 
200 
200 
193 
192 
100 
100 
100 
80 




Nebraska 

Tennessee 

Washington 

West Virginia 

Colorado 

Delaware 

Idaho 

Maine 

D. C. 

Wyoming 

New Mexico 

Hawaii 



50 
50 
50 
50 

50 m 

10 1 
10 1 
10 I 

6 i 

6 I 
5 I 
1.1 



South Carolina - KSany (S.I. A.) 

TABLE B 

DISTRIBUTION OF 20,072 LOCAL UNITS OF THE NATIONAL CONGRESS OF 
PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS AMONG DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCHOOLS 



Grade School 16,427 jjjl 

Senior High School 722* 813 

Junior High School 433* I 

Pre-School 308 I 

Parochial School 91 | 

Senior College 3 \ 

Kindergarten 17 \ 

Church 15 1 

Junior College 7 ( 

Private 7 I 



Other 



22 



*The Junior-Senior High School Associations form only about & of the units but have 
nearly t\ of the members. 

105 



106 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



TABLE C 

THE NUMBEK OF ACTIVITIES CABBIEB ON IN THE VABIOXJS STATES FOR THE 
YEABS 1929, 1930, 1931, AS REPORTED BY THE PBESBDENT OF THE STATE 

CONGRESS 

The rank given indicates the number of times the activity was mentioned by the 
President of the State Congress 



ACTIVITY 


FREQUENCY 

OF 

OCCURRENCE 


ACTIVITY 


FREQUENCY 

OF 

OCCURRENCE 


Summer Rormd-Up (Cor 
recting Physical De 
fects) 


104 


Beautification of School 
Physical Education . . . 
Kindergarten Educa 


9 
8 


Bulletins , 


100 * 


tion . ..... 


8 


Publicity 


91 


Illiteracy 


8 


Founders* Day 


76 


Character Education. . 


8 


Child Health 


68 


Leisure (Use of Leisure 




Parent Education 


64 


Time) 


8 


Radio 


52 


Handicapped Children 


7 


Courses 


50 


Art 


6 


Libraries 


48 


Reading Rooms 


6 


Study Groups 


42 


Americanization 


6 


Legislation 


37 


Pageants 


5 


Citizenship 


36 


Correspondence Courses 


4 


Music 


34 


ScTap-Boolkp 


4 


Safety Education 


31 


Colored Education 


4 


School Banking (Thrift) 


30 


Poster Contest. . . . 


4 


Juvenile Protection 


26 


Bfrby ClipiC, 


4 


Motion Pictures 


25 


Lectures 


4 


Home Education 


25 


Supply Textbooks 


3 


Rural Education . . 


23 


Vocational Education 


3 


HnmaTie Education .... 


18 


Farm Bureau 


3 


Home Economics 


18 


Community Develop 




Scholarship Fund 


18 


ment 


3 


Social Hygiene 


17 


Free Clinics. 


2 


Mental Hygiene . . 


16 


Church Associations 


2 


Recreation 


14 


Bands. 


2 


Playgrounds 


13 


Visual Education 


2 


Spiritual Training, . , . , u 


12 


Dental Education 


2 


Leadership 


12 


Guidance 


2 


Nutrition , . . . 


10 


Holidays 


1 


Exhibits 


9 


Clothes Conservation 


1 






Narcotic Education. . . 
Nursing 


1 
1 











The above table includes only activities reported by State Officials, from Proceedings of 
National Congress of Parents and Teachers, "President's Reports," 1929, 1930, 1931. Wash 
ington, D. C. 



Appendix 107 



TABLE D 

HOW 100 PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS RAISE THEIR FUNDS*, IN ORDER 

OF FREQUENCY 




ntB, Movies, etc. 4* 

Card Parties 20 
Sales (food, candy, clothing, etc*) 19 

Dramatics, Operettas 17 

Dinners 13 

Carnivals or Bazaars 10 
Subscriptions or Donations, Gifts 8 TffffWn 

Lectures 7 HBjj| 

Dances 5 

Athletics 5 Bsflp 

Conmunity Projects 5 991 

Theater Bar ties 4 

Finance Gcmnittee n 

Miscellaneous 2 g| 

*Dues, not included above, are means of support of every association. 



TABLE E 

PROPORTIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME, AS TO SOURCE, OF 
NATIONAL CONGRESS 



Dues per member 5^ 81 

national Life Membership 16 

State Life Membership 1. 

Delinquent Dues . 

Other Gifts 



108 The Parent-Teacher Association 



TABLE F 
How 100 ASSOCIATIONS SPEND THEIB MONEY, IN ORDER OF FREQUENCY 

Iiuipment, Playgrounds , Books, 
Pictures, and Radios 

Refreshments 
Child Welfare, Relief 
(General Welfare) 

Student Aid 

Dues, State and national 

Speakers 

Convention, Deletes, etc. 

Study Groups 

Clinice (Healtii) 

Parental Education 

paid lectures 

Charities 

Stationery, Printing, etc. 
Under-privileged Children, 
nutrition, lunch room, etc* 

Banquets, Teacher Receptions 
Priaes 

Rent of Meeting Places 
Publicity and Publication i 
School Band 
Athletics 
libraries 
Parties 

Boy and Girl Gamps 

*This item is on the increase. The economic condition of the country has given an im 
petus to the spending of money by the Association for relief. 




Appendix 



109 



TABLE G 
DISTRIBUTION OF EXPENDITDBES OP THE NATIONAL CONGRESS 



Presidents' Fund $ 3,554.14 

Summer Round-up 4,200.00 

Administration Fund 3,641.20 

Officers' Departments* & Committees' Expenses 894.02 

National Office 11,769.07 

Salaries 40,396.35 

International Federation of Home & School 1,000.00 

Convention Denver, Colorado 3415.55 

Auditor National Office 100.00 

Auditor & Bond Treasurer 175.00 

Treasurer's Expense including clerical help 500.00 

Traveling Expenses Executive Committee 7,379,39 

Exhibits (Outside) 257.73 

Stationery 470.75 

Publications 18,748.04 

Equipment 1,892.92 

Field 7,902.47 

Royalty "Parents & Teachers" to Endowment Fund 174.15 

Endowment Fund National & State Life Memberships 2,431.90 

Emblems 5,951.00 

Balance 1929-30 Administration 561.52 

President's Fund Revolving Additional 300.00 

National Office Revolving Additional 300.00 

Convention, 1931, Hot Springs, Ark 46.91 

Miscellaneous 327.43 

TOTAL $116,089.54 



110 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



TABLE H 

A MEASURING SCALE FOR PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS* 
(ShowingWeighted Judgments of 75 Jurors) 



ITEMS 



TOTAL 

SCOBJE 

ALLOTTED 



DISTRIBU 
TION OF 
SCORES 



I. Programs and Activities 

A. Preliminary meeting of the executive com 
mittee for making general plans 5 

B. Methods of planning programs and activities . 5 

1. Definite study of educational needs 

2. Preparation of programs early in the year. 

3. Focusing of programs upon relatively few 
needs 

C. The year's objectives and their attainment ... 11 

1. Giving members an understanding of the 
objectives and methods of the school 

2. Teaching members to apply accepted edu 
cational objectives and methods to the out- 
of-school environment 

3. Facilitating acquaintance among parents 
and teachers 

4. Aiding in educating the community to de 
sirable aspects of the school's program. . . . 

5. Raising funds under certain conditions .... 

6. Under certain conditions giving to the 
school officials judgment as to where the 
school fails or succeeds 

D. Maintaining a reasonable balance between 
entertainment and non-entertainment features 2 

E. Reasonable adherence to educational problems 
of children as contrasted with general commu 
nity problems 2 

F. Non-interference with work of board or teach- 

2 

G. Percentage total membership utilized during 

the year in some way 2 

H. Extension work, such as work in unorganized 

territory; collecting funds; Founders' Day. ... 1 

TOTAL 30 

II. Administration 

A. Committee organization 4 

B. Financial policies 4 

1. Preparation of budget early in year 

2. Budget in keeping with educational program 

3. Reasonable adherence to this budget 

C. Promptness in attending to state and national 
business 1 

D. Dignified publicity of parent-teacher matters. 4 



2 
2 

2 
1 

1 

2 

2 
2 
2 
1 



30 



Appendix 



111 



ITEMS 



TOTAL 
SCORE 



3ISTRIBU- 
TTON OF 
SCOKES 



E. Sending delegates to state and district conven 
tions 1 

F. AJbsence of friction and prevalence of spirit of 
cooperation among members 3 

G. Meetings 3 

1. Frequency (number that can be held 
successfully) 

2. Regularity (each month according to 
schedule) 

TOTAL 20 

III. Membership and Attendance 

A. Per cent of parents who are members 3 

B. Per cent of men members 3 

C. Per cent of teachers who are members 3 

D. Per cent of membership in average attendance 3 

E. Per cent of teachers in average attendance ... 3 

TOTAL 15 

IV. Program of Parent Education 

A. Preliminary study of problem 3 

B. Focusing program on needs 3 

C. Organization 6 

D. Study groups 8 

1. Classification of interests .... 

2. Leadership 

3. Subjects or material covered 

4. Financial support of board of education . . . 

TOTAL,-- 20 

V. Health: 

Summer Round-Up (location and means for cor 
recting physical and mental defects of children) . . 8 

A. Discovering of defects 

B. Organization and procedure; set-up and plan, 

C. Results or accomplishments; actual number 
of defects corrected as a result of Parent- 
Teacher Association leadership 

VI. Effectiveness in bringing about changes for th* 
better in regard to child development; social 
adjustment in and out of school; school hous 
ing; better teaching; better community atti 
tude, etc 

TOTAL 15 

GRAND TOTAL 10 



20 



15 



3 
3 
6 

2 
4 
1 
1 



20 



15 



*Adapted from Butterworth's Self Measuring Scale for Parent-Teacher Associations. (The 
Parent-Teacher Association, Butterworth, J. E. Macmillan Co., 1928.) 



112 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



CHABT A 

EXAMPLE OF THE ORGANIZATION OF A STATE BRANCH OF THE NATIONAL 
CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS 

New Jersey Congress of Pa rent a and Teachers* 



State Board of Managers 



Executive 
Coajmittee 



Elected 
Officers 



Chairman of 
Conmittees- 
at-large 



Chairmen of 

Standing 

Committees 



Chairman of 

County 

Councils 




Finance 






( ___.__ 


President 1 '" 


Three Members 

at-large 
ch'osen by 
Board of 
Managers from 
Its Own Body 


7 Vice-'-JPresidents 


Directors of 




Corresponding Secretary 


. Extension and 
Organization 


Health 


Home Service 
and Education 


Public Welfare 


Northern 
County Council 


Southern 
Oounty Council 


Central 
County Council 




Recording Secretary 


^Treasurer 


fr 






1 State Office 


Local Units 




I 


Individual 
M@mb3ra 


Office 

Secretary 


r-4 


0} 


co 


^ 


in 


o 


t> 



*Notes: 1. The Convention is the policy forming group of the Congress. The Board of 
Managers carries out the policies and conducts the business of the Congress between 
Conventions. 

2. The State Congress elects its own officers, adopts its own by-laws and legislates for its 
local units. State by-laws and standing rules of a State branch must be in harmony 
with those in the National Congress. 

3. States vary in their organization. The above is an example of one type of organization. 
Some states are divided into districts for purposes of administration. In some states 
large cities having school systems separate from the county school system, organize city 
councils to unify the work in the city. 

f The presidents of the state branches are members of the Board of Managers of the National 
Congress of Parents and Teachers. 



Appendk 



113 



GHAUT B 

RELATION OF NATIONAL COMMITTEES TO STATE, DISTBICT, 
COUNCIL, AND LOCAL UNITS 



Ooagreaa of Farttta tad Teaeiaara* 



Ooatalt tee-State Ocugrosa of treats aad faaelws l 




Chart shows through which channels various committees work. Where the city is large, 
the county council is omitted occasionally, but most often it is retained because the city has 
a city Superintendent and the county a County Superintendent and the two systems work 
independently. " A. " Most frequent course. 

^Prepared by the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Washington, D. C. 



114 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



CHART c 

ORGANIZATION OP NATIONAL CONGRESS (1930) 



Kational Congress of Parents and Teachers 



national Convention* 



States 
47 , Hawaii, and District of Columbia 



1 




I 


' Council j 


| City 


Com 








1 


Local TTni 


fe (20,000) 





District* 



Membership 1931, 



1,511,203 



^Convention is included In chart because of its power as a policy forming group. 
fDistrict is used in some states to divide state into smaller units. 



CHART D 
RELATION OF THE PARENT>TEACHER ASSOCIATION TO EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM 



People 



Board of Education 



Superintendent of 
Schools 



Principals 



_ 

u 



Teachers 



h-H 



P.T.A. 



Pupils 



Appendix 



115 



CHART E 
GOVERNING BODIES OF NATIONAL CONGRESS OP PARENTS AND TEACHERS 





NATIONAL CONGRESS OF PABEHTS AND TEACHEHS J 




Annual Convention 


i 






! 




1 


| National Board of 


Managers i 


Jationsl 
Conmitt 


Executive 

36 




i 






1 


State Pres. Nat 
jy^Stateg, c ^ Off 


^ n - ;.*..! 

1 Officers 


C 

I 
C 


hairmaa 
Sudget 
tomaittee 


3 Elected at large 
Board of Managers 


Chairman Cha 


Irmnn n? j 




i 


! 1 ] 

v _ ^ 


President 





i 




Child Welfare 




7 Ylce 


Pres. 


i 


Budget 


Endowment Fund 


Secretary 








Pounders' Day 
Congress 
Publication 


Editor Child Welfare 
Hagazine 
Historian ,/ 


Treasurer 


j 


Parent 
Radio 


E ducat ion 




K 

o 

i 

CO 

f\ 

I 
1 


1 Educational " 1 1 


a 
Beaearch and ^ 

Information * 
Ii 


1 Publicity " 1 * 


Parent Iducatlon 
Chairman 


Suraaer Round-up 
Publications 


Field Secretary | 




First 
Vice 
Aides 


& Second llhlrd to seventh 
Presidents pirectors of De- 
to President partments 


i 



| Departments ] 


Third "Vice Pres. I 
Director of I 
Extension I 


'ourth Vice Pres. 
Jirector of 
Vjlic Welfare 


Fifth Vice Pres. 
Director of Dept 
of Education 


Sixth Vice Pres. 
Dept. of Hone 
Service 


Seventh. Vice 
Prea. Director 
of Health 




C 


tnmlttees 




tlemb'ership 


Citizenship 


Art 


Home Making 


Child Hygiene 


Bural Service 


Jurenile 
Protection 


Music 


Home Education 


Standard and 
Superior 
Association 


Student Loan & 
Scholarships 


Thrift 


Mental %glene 


Legislation 


Character 
Education 


Motion 
Pictures 


School 
.Sducat ion 


Social Hygiene 






Eecreatlon 


Summer Round- 
TJP 


Safety 


Humane Edu- 




Eindergarten 
Sxtensron 






Physical Bd. 


Effect of al 
cohol and nar 
cotics 


International 
Eelationa 





116 



The Parent-Teacher Association 



CHART F 

DUTIES OF MEMBERS IN THE PABENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 



THE MIMB2RS 



At Begular Meetings 



Transact Business 
IQ.ee t Delegates 
Participate in Programs 
Promote Activities 



At Annual Meetings 



I 



Amend By-Laws 
Receive Annual Reports 
Elect Officers 



EXECUTIVE; 



COMMITTEE 



01FICERS 



Chairmen of 

Standing 

Committees 



Principal of 
School 




Publications: 
Child Welfare Magazine 
founders Bay 
Pre-Scbool Study Circles 



Other Committees and 
Their Services, Surreys 
programs, Exhibits v 
Study Groups s etc. 



Appendix 11? 



AN OUTLINE OF A GOOD PROJECT IN STUDY GROUPS 

A YEAR'S PLAN FOR STUDY GROUPS AS SUGGESTED BY THE LINCOLN SCHOOL 
PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION, NEW YORK CITY 

I. GRADE GROUP MEETINGS 

Parents of every grade to meet in October and again in the spring to dis 
cuss with teachers the work of the grade and plan for closer cooperation. 

One of these grade meetings to be an evening meeting, so fathers can meet 
with teachers. (Several grades could meet on the same evening to make it 
easier for the teachers.) 

These Grade Meetings to (1) be arranged for by grade representatives; (2) 
have programs planned by grade representatives working with teacher, in co 
operation with the trained leader; (3) be presided over by grade representa 
tive. 

Aim for 100 per cent attendance at these two meetings of each grade group. 
Other grade meetings could be called by the teacher when desired. Grade 
representatives would assist teacher in getting group together. 

Any teacher or any parent could suggest matters which she would like 
to have discussed at these meetings; but these suggestions would be made 
in advance, and through the grade representatives. 

Grade representatives chosen by parents in grades. 

Several preliminary meetings of grade representatives for discussion of 
technique in leading meetings. 

H. SEVERAL ELECTIVE STUDY GROUPS 

Make out a course of study covering the large topics in each series, with a 
two- or three-year sequence, so that parents can look ahead and plan their 
work. 

Allow flexibility in this program, with some meetings to be devoted to par 
ticular needs of the group; e.g.: 

Group 1. The Physical and Psychological Development of the Young Child. 

Group 2. The Physical and Psychological Development of the Pre-Adoles- 
cent. 

Group 3. The Physical and Psychological Development of the Adolescent. 

Groups 1 to 3: Led by professional leader. Assigned readings bringing 
parents up to date on scientific findings on the subject. Experts brought in 
as needed. Parent participation encouraged, but leader carrying responsibility 
of planning and leading discussion. 

Group 4. One series each year on some study of social significance. Talks 
by experts or persons of experience in social work. Also a laboratory project, 
such as providing a recreation club for boys of neighborhood who now con 
stitute a social problem for the school. 

Group 5. One "seminar" group where parents themselves contribute from 
their own study and experience. Selected specific topics, useful to parents 
of any age child, such as: "Training Children in the Use of Money." (Par- 



118 The Parent-Teacher Association 

ents taking this course would expect to assume much responsibility for making 
it a success; they would read; prepare material to present to the others; etc.) 
Some of the contributions of this group would be used in Groups I to 3. Grade 
representatives would be encouraged to join this group. 

DEFINITION OF STUDY GROUPS WITH RECOMMENDATIONS 

"Study Groups" may be denned as a number of smaller groups of parents 
of the regular membership meeting to discuss problems of interest in an in 
timate way. Objectives of such groups may be: 

1. To facilitate acquaintanceship and stimulate cooperative effort among 
parents. 

2. To provide for the particular interest of parents. 

3. To give the parent the responsibility of planning and contributing to the 
project or problem* 

4. To give parents a greater insight into the problems of the school and home. 

5. To give parents a better understanding of their function as parents. 

6. To contribute or pass on well thought out "findings" and results to 
other groups. 

7. To discover potential leaders. 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDY GROUPS 

1. Organize study groups according to grades. Have a grade representa 
tive responsible to develop plans and programs. Teacher should be relieved 
of details and planning. 

2. Initiating study groups needs careful planning and organization to give 
leaders understanding and skill to carry out plans and to develop an interest 
and understanding on the part of the groups in the idea and in the plans. 

3. An attempt should be made to find a unity of interest. Parents should 
be made conscious that there are problems common to most of the group 
which can be considered by all with profit. 

4. Teachers should be included in the plans and work of the Study Group, 

5. Both the expert and local talent should be used to solve its problems. 
6* Include whole membership. Plan definite " tie-up" between all study 

groups and with the larger general meetings of the Association. Someone 
should be delegated with this responsibility. 

7. Lay leaders are necessary to secure desirable results but they must have 
opportunity for training in leadership. 

8. Several types of study groups should be set up to provide for the various 
interests of the groups, 

9. Parents must be given the opportunity to indicate their preference in 
regard to the topics to be considered and opportunity to participate to the 
fullest extent in all meetings. 



Appendix 



119 



SUMMER1ROUND-UP OF NATIONAL CONGRESS 

1930 Accomplishment 

I. PARTICIPATION OF PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS IN SUMMER ROUND 
UP, 1930. 





NUMBER OF J? 


AREJTT-TEACHE] 
UNITS 


i ASSOCIATION 




Registering 


Carrying 
Through 


% Completing 
Work 


States represented 


43 


43 


100 


OoTnmniTnHifis rfippflSfiYitfid . . , 


1,880 


761 


404 


City Groups represented . . 


2,386 


1 358 


50 5 


Town Groups represented 
Rural Groups represented 


1,065 
812 


317 
244 


29.7 
300 










TOTAL 


4,563 


1,919 


42.0 











II. PHYSICAL DEFECTS DISCOVERED AND CORRECTED IN SUMMER ROUND 
UP, 1930. 



NTJMBEK OF DEFECTS 





Discovered 


Corrected 


Per Cent 
Corrected 


Eyes 


3,094 


946 


30.5 


Ears 


1,830 


558 


30.4 


Teeth 


29,850 


9,135 


30.6 


Tonsils 


21,179 


4,821 


22.7 


Adenoids . 


12,402 


2,825 


22.7 


Nose 


1,636 


387 


23.6 


Heart 


1,347 


309 


22.9 


Glands 


7,644 


1,580 


20.6 




786 


225 


28.6 


Posture 


3,885 


703 


18.0 


Feet * 


2,722 


554 


20.3 


Underweight 


10,196 


3,658 


35.8 


Skin 


1,152 


467 


40.5 


Hernia 


675 


127 


18.8 




914 


174 


19.0 




3,128 


558 


17.8 




3,292 


1,478 


44.8 










TOTAL 


105,732 


28,505 


26.9 











120 The Parent-Teacher Association 

III. NUMBER OP CHILDREN RECEIVING IMMUNIZATION AGAINST: 

Smallpox 18,872 

Diphtheria 9,908 

Typhoid 1,221 

IV. NUMBER OP CHILDREN ENTERING SCHOOL (KINDERGARTEN 

OR FIRST GRADE), FALL, 1930 102,490 

NUMBER OF THESE CHILDREN RECEIVING ROUND-UP EXAMINA 
TION 55,526 

NUMBER OF PARENTS OR GUARDIANS PRESENT AT EXAMINATION 37,965 

V. NUMBER OP THESE UNITS WHICH MET NATIONAL CAMPAIGN 

REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIVED THE CERTIFICATE AWARD 1,462 



Appendix 121 



COPY OF SCALE BATING IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES OF THE 
PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION 

AS RANKED BY 40 ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS AND 40 SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS 

(See Table 1, page 50) 

The following list of objectives of Parents or Parent-Teacher Associations 
has been assembled by compiling all of the objectives suggested as desirable 
by educators, experts, and officials in the field of P.T A. work, such as state 
and local presidents. 

Assuming a typical association, will you rank these in the order of impor 
tance which in your judgment they should assume in the Association's pro 
gram? No. 1 means that you feel the objective so ranked is most important, 
and No. 2 means that which should be the next concern of the Association. 
A rank of 17 indicates the objective which in your judgment should receive the 
least attention of the list there given. 

The list is made in random order and does not indicate the author's pref 
erence. 

RANK 
ORDER 

1. Making material gifts to the school, such as pictures, radios, various 
kinds of equipment, not provided by the school board. 

2. Financing experimental work in the school curriculum, to be used 
as demonstrations, with the expectation that they will later be taken 
over by the school board. Such activities in the past have in 
cluded open-air classes, milk for undernourished children, school 
orchestras, etc. 

3. Providing general knowledge of the school philosophy, curriculum 
making in relation to the changing social situation, teaching meth 
ods and their purpose, school procedures, such as ungraded classes, 
psychological testing, etc., for membership and community. 

4. Providing information to bring about changes for the better in 
regard to child development, habits of learning, social adjustment 
in and out of school, training methods to be used in the home, at 
titudes towards choice of a vocation, etc. now generally summed 
up under the phrase, "parent education." 

5. Providing a cultural program with no necessary emphasis on the 
needs of the child, such as musical concerts, lectures on non- 
professional subjects, dramatics, entertainments, etc. 

6. Providing charitable relief for families of poor in the school district; 
providing glasses and shoes, etc., for needy children. 

7. Providing scholarships for gifted children. ^ ^ 

8. Working on a legislative program for better school conditions, new 
schools, new playgrounds, playground equipment, increases in 
school budget, defense against unnecessary attack of public school 
expenditures. 



122 The Parent-Teacher Association 



RANK 
ORDER 

9. Providing an understanding of the parents' role in modem educa 
tion, the value and opportunities of the P.T.A., of the social re- 
sponbilities of parenthood, of parent-child relationship. This 
sociological material to be presented through inspirational lectures. 

10. Organizing and assisting study groups in child development, the 
parent-child relationship, generally known as "parent education." 
This objective differs from No. 4 in that it involves intensive study 
of bibliography, case-histories, etc. Under the guidance of a pro 
fessional or intelligent lay-leader with adequate equipment. No, 4 
assumes only that such material will be presented in lecture or dis 
cussion form in so far as practicable at the large meetings of the As 
sociation. 

11. Cooperating with the educational staff of the school to solve certain 
school problems, such as: homework, reading habits, ill-considered 
complaints, mistakes occurring through misunderstanding, lack of 
friendly relations between teachers and parents. 

12. Providing a means for social intercourse between parents and 
teachers for the purpose of facilitating acquaintance and building 

a partnership between home and school. 

13. Helping toward a better understanding of community conditions, 
community needs and a community program for child and civic 
welfare. This would have to be done in cooperation with other 
civic and social organizations. 

14. Working to correct physical defects of children through such de 
vices as the "Summer Round Up" or others aimed to prepare 
children for entering school without physical defects; to insure 
better use of existing recreational opportunities; better use of leisure 
time. 

15. Supporting state and national organizations in their efforts for 
equalization of educational opportunities throughout the several 
states, for nation-wide reform for favorable legislation for adequate 
schools and citizenship. 

16. Educating the public as to the Association's program with the idea 
of securing public support for the advancement of that program. 
Making extensive use of a publicity set-up. 



Appendix 123 



COPY OF CHECK LIST USED TO ANALYZE THE WORK OF 
THE TEN CASE STUDIES 

Analysis of Parent-Teacher Association 

Located at 

Signed 

Write fully : 

1. Age of Association 

2. Size of Association 

3. Regular meetings per year 

4. Special meetings per year 

5. How and why formed? (History) 

6. Organization (Personnel) All working? Cooperative? Committee plans, 
etc. (Method of work) 

7. Per cent of attendance at meetings? 

8. Per cent of teachers belonging? 

9. Per cent of men belonging? 

10. Per cent of homes represented? 

11. Does a study of needs determine activities? Ability of personnel to 
select important activities? 

12. Type of activities: 

a) Educational? 

b) Number 

c) Relation to needs 

d) Do they solve your problems? 

13. Do you have printed programs? 

14. Is budget related to activities? 

15. How is money expended? (Financial policy) 

16. Is there cooperation between all groups? 

a) Any friction? Ever? 

17. Wider Outlook affiliated with: 

a) Council 
V) State 
c) National 

18. Business procedure: sound accounting expenses audited? 

19. Philosophy behind organization. Attitude toward progressive Education 
unselfish? etc. 

20. Is there a real publicity program? Any publications? 

21. What is reaction of school? 

22. What is reaction of Community? Effect of P.T.A. on Community? 

23. Attitude toward lay and professional functions? P.T.A. keep within its 
province? 

24. How Association works? Study groups. One leader only. Delegate 
duties, etc. 

25. Any help from higher authoritative bodies? National Body, higher 
council, etc.? 



124 The Parent-Teacher Association 

26. Help from study and research furnished by school system, State or Na 
tional Association? 

27. Can you boast of real leadership in your association? Ones who know 
and take the lead? 

28. Program meeting needs? Is there a balance between Entertainment, 
Social, Educational, etc. 

29. Is program unified? All energies directed toward one big job? 

30. Does P.T.A. institute reforms such as: 

a) Legislation 
6) City reform 

c) School support 

1) new education 

d) Teachers 

1) salaries 

2) tenure 

3) pension, etc. 

4) welfare 

31. Aggressive 

a) To dictate policies of Board or School? 
6) To support education and Child Welfare? 
c) Assumes a place in body politic? Dynamic? 

32. Is interest of members real and unselfish, trying to do worth while things? 

33. Do many members drop out? Any record of turnover? Do kindergarten 
parents remain members until child graduates? 

34. Independent in thought and action? 

35. Has Association ever been political? 

36. Enumerate major difficulties. 

37. Does your plan provide for Education of parents along such lines as: (a) 
new education demanded by changes in Society; (6) what the schools are 
doing to meet these changes; (c) objectives of education, etc. 

38. How are leaders trained? 

a) Professional courses (college, etc.) 
6) Study groups 

c) Instruction from National Headquarters or Central Organization? 

d] Self-trained? 

39. List desirable changes brought about conclusively by work of P.T.A. 

a) Parent education or enlightenment. h) Study of supplies 

6) Teachers more friendly z) Fewer complaints 

c) Parents more interested in school j) 

d) Health program k) 

e) Playgrounds 1} 
/) Boys clubs m) 
g) Equipment n) 

Write in other means by which you would check an Association for efficiency 
(explain things as fully as you can) 

Remarks: 



Appendix 125 



LETTER SENT TO 100 PRESIDENTS OF LOCAL PARENT-TEACHER 

ASSOCIATIONS AND 100 SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS 
Dear President: 

Please rank in order of importance (1-11) the activities which you and your 
Association consider in carrying out your program of work. Mark 1 for the 
most important, 2 for the next, etc. A mark of 11 wfll indicate the activity 
to which you attach the least significance of the II listed activities. The order 
here given is a random one.* 

1. Study Groups** 

2. Demonstrations of School Work. 

3. Program of Parent Education. 

4. Study of School Work and Methods. 

5. Community Projects. 

6. Making Gifts to School 

7. Social Intercourse. 

8. Entertainments. 

9. Study of Child Psychology. 

10. Publicity. 

11. Helping to Solve School Problems. 

Very truly yours, 



STATES FROM W|f ICH QUESTIONNAIRES WERE RECEIVED 

New Jersey ......... ^>.*>^JO, Rhode Island ............... 2 * 

Pennsylvania ............... 8 South Carolina .............. 2 ^ 

1 California ................... 7 Virginia ! .................... 2 I 

Colorado 



i Louisiana ..... . . , 


6 


Arkansas 


1 


-? New York 


6 


Delaware . . 


.. . 1 


Connecticut 


5 


Florida . . . 


1 


Illinois 


4 


Georgia 


1 


Ohio 


4 


Indiana 


1 


Alabama. . . . 


3 


Maine , 


1 


* Massachusetts 


3 


Mississippi . 


1 


* Minnesota 


3 


Missouri 


1 


* Wisconsin 


3 


New Hampshire . 


1 


^ Kansas 


2 


Texas 


1 


Michigan 


2 g 


Vermont 


1 


North Carolina 


2 * 






North Dakota 


2 v 




TOTAL 98 


Oklahoma 


2 5 







*ChiW Welfare listed by some of the Associations in the field was not included because of its 
broad concept and because of its inclusion in the eleven activities above. 
"""Includes Child Development, Parent-Child Relationship, School Methods, Psychology, etc. 



126 The Parent-Teacher Association 



PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATIONS USED FOR CASE STUDIES 

The ten Parent-Teacher Associations used for case studies were selected 
from the following cities: 

Bridgeport, Connecticut 
Fairfield, Connecticut 
Greenwich, Connecticut 
Hackensack, New Jersey 
Mountain View, New Jersey 
Newark, New Jersey 
New York, New York 
Port Chester, New York 
Passaic, New Jersey 




102988 



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